The times we are all living in are challenging and intense. This morning when I opened my windows and saw the blanket of gray clouds overhead, I smiled. Not because the sun might not make its appearance today, but because I am healthy and alive. In the past couple of days, however, the energy has shifted here in my area of Florence. It feels slightly more somber than before.
I can see it in how people walk around the piazza. Their footsteps are slower, they slouch their bodies over, and their heads are down. Only a couple of runners make their way along the Arno, and a few pedestrians carrying their groceries march forward. Even the dog walkers seem to stumble along. I think most of us are feeling like I am. We’d all prefer to stay home and not go anywhere at all under the current circumstances.
I haven’t enjoyed being outside at all. Every time I return home from buying groceries, I feel ill. Light-headed and heavy-hearted.I find much more solace and peace at home.
The biggest changes I notice now, apart from empty streets and closed businesses, are the high number of vehicles for the military, the local police, the Carabinieri, and the undercover police navigating the streets, and that by around 2 pm many of the small shops close so only the supermarkets and a handful of businesses remain open. The number of people outside diminishes in the afternoon, even though there aren’t many in the morning either.
We are all trying to make sense of this. After three weeks of being in lockdown, we don’t know when we will be free to go outside again. We all hope and pray it will come soon, but for now we have to appreciate our day-to-day lives. It’s necessary now more than ever to find joy in a moment, to appreciate beauty in a split second, and to open our hearts even more.
Last night, I rushed to the pharmacy in San Niccolò before it closed. As I was crossing Ponte alle Grazie, I admired the sun peeking out of the thick layer of clouds hanging above us all day. It filled me up with so much hope that I took a photo. When I crossed the street, I saw a faint rainbow above San Niccolò, which put a smile on my face.
The world we knew only a month ago will change forever, but I believe something good will come about. We can’t see it now, but a silver lining will appear around this dark cloud. I’m sure when the plague ravaged the world, no one thought life could ever improve, but it did. The Renaissance began, and the world took a turn for the better.
We will all get through this and as I wrote yesterday, “There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is you.”
Now is the time to open your heart, nurture the love in your heart, and celebrate life.
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