For me, the summer months in Florence entice me to step back a little and just take in each day as it comes. I find myself strolling instead of rushing down the narrow streets with the warm air brushing against my face. I find it a challenge to be productive this time of year. I can look out at the Arno and the low hillside across from my apartment and get lost in the soft colors and shapes of the buildings, trees, and grass.

The days begin early with the sun touching the city around 6am. This morning, the sky is already turning a light blue and itís 5am.

While many of the people I know canít wait to get out of Florence to find cooler air and a more relaxing spot for the summer, I personally love to just luxuriate in my beloved city. The beaches along the coast are certainly pleasant, but Florence is quieter. With so many locals gone, itís an even greater joy to stay here. Even though there are tourists, it seems there are fewer of them now than in late spring.

The past few days, Iíve found myself in a kind of dream state. I have a desire to be alone and still. I also feel as if my senses are even more alive: the colors around me are richer, odors (good and bad) are stronger, the sun is hotter, and the air is heavier. Itís a time when I canít help but slow down. My senses are almost saturated with stronger input.

Every year at this time, I am always caught off guard. I always have so much going on in my life and feel at times like a train racing down the tracks. However, July for me is when Iím forced to slow down. Instead of continuing at my usual pace, I pause. Initially, the pause surprises me. I donít initially give into the pause, but it comes naturally and doesnít give me much of a choice.

Right now the birds are chirping outside announcing the rising of the sun that I can see is rising quickly from the East. The sky is now an even lighter blue. The cool morning air that wafts in my open windows is refreshing so I try to take it in while I can. In a few hours, the city will warm up and I will want to pause again. My beloved city reminds each day to just sit back and enjoy. Itís time to enjoy what Iíve harvested this year, relax, luxuriate in my senses, and dream up my plans once September rolls around.

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