by Melinda Gallo

A part of me is always in Florence

I miss Florence. Not in a way that doesnít allow me to be happy elsewhere, but in a way that doesnít allow me to ever forget my beloved city. I donít hold my breath when I am away from Florence, but almost. These six weeks in California and France have been way too long for me. Itís not that I havenít enjoyed my time away, but I still miss Florence and mostly how I feel when I am there. I long to return to my beloved cityís embrace where love flows so easily in and out of me like my breath.

I have a deep connection to Florence. One that even I canít truly explain to anyone. But I have come to know that love is something you feel and not think or talk about. A deep and loving part of me was born in Florence and now it wants to sing about it from the rooftops.

When I am in Florence, I feel more alive. I am inspired to share my joy by writing, taking pictures, and smiling at those who pass me by. I feel so much joy radiate through me that my heart wants to jump out of my chest. The main influence that Florence has had on me is that love has become my raison d'Ítre. I bask in it, give it, receive it, share it, and appreciate it. There is nothing as divine as love.

Iíll be back in Florence in less than a week and already I can imagine myself enjoying my beloved city. When I close my eyes, I can see myself walking down the narrow streets, strolling along the Arno under a bright blue sky, visiting my favorite museums, listening to the church bells ring every hour, and traversing the busy and sometimes crowded piazze. Even though I can bring back fond memories of my beloved city, nothing replaces being and just reveling in it.

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