Finding solace in isolation

Every morning, I wake up to the sound of the water flowing over the weir below Ponte alle Grazie. I used to only hear it only if I focused on it or in the wee hours of the night, rarely during the day like I do now. I welcome the sound of the church bells ringing every hour because they remind me that Florence is still spreading her love.

Living in Florence :: Finding solace in isolation

During the day, I keep my windows closed and look out every now and again to see how the day is progressing outside. When I saw the trees across the Arno waving at me,†I smiled. Today,†I noticed that there are fewer birds outside than there were a week ago. I keep my eye out for the seagulls, pigeons, sparrows, and crows as they fly above the river, peck at the cobblestone, and perch themselves on rooftops.†

Very few people are walking around outside nowadays. Last week, runners were still passing through my piazza, construction workers were working on the building down the street, and people were standing in the sun to chat. Now no one is around. When I was looking out at the street for a half hour, I could count the number of people I saw on one hand.†

Iím happy to not have to go outside to buy any fruits and vegetables since I†bought enough on Thursday to stay in until at least Wednesday. I have become uncomfortable going outside. Not because I have to remain alert to the other people around me at all times, or that I have to stand at least one meter (although most people prefer two or three meters) away from them when standing in line outside a shop. Itís because it just feels wrong to be outside. The sunlight is too stark, the sky too bare, the streets too empty, and the energy of the city too calm.

I prefer relaxing even more into my cocoon, where I feel great solace. I have lived alone for many years and work from home†as well, so I enjoy being by myself, living in silence, and staying inside. But this lockdown has taught me to embrace it even more and to acknowledge the gifts it is giving me.

I feel as if itís a time to release the old and make room for the new (even if we donít know when the new will come). I believe itís more a time to not acquire anything new, but rather to appreciate all that we already have. And most of all, itís a time to reduce the chatter around us so we can listen to the whispers from our hearts and discover more about ourselves.

Ever since weíve been on lockdown, I buy nothing unless I have run out of it. I finished my favorite morning tea last Friday, but since I have other types of†tea,†I have decided not to buy any more tea until I have depleted my entire supply.†

Now that I am confined to my home, I started sitting on my small terrace where I grow lavender, Thai basil, coriander, and parsley as well as a few avocado and lemon trees. Normally, I go up to my terrace only to take care of my plants. But now I sit on my terrace in the afternoon, surrounded by my garden, to read or write and get some sun.

Just the other day, I began perusing my photos on my iPhone and publishing the ones I took in the past and never published before. I appreciate the abundance of love and beauty that Florence has filled my heart with over the years.

Time has slowed down for me. By not going outside as much, I have more time for myself. I can sit on the terrace and just gaze at my surroundings. I notice more†details than I did before.†

While I remain in my apartment as much as possible during this lockdown, I†feel as if my life is improving day by day. I doubt I could go back to living how I was before. Itís as if†my life had a specific rhythm, and now it has a different one.†Nowadays, I feel a greater sense of peace†because I†care more about how I feel and can†better†discern†what I want†to allow into my life. Itís as if I am in better charge of my life and therefore can trust what is coming my way.

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