Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tea in Rome

Sadly, I think this may be my final (or perhaps second to final) entry telling tales of our trip to Italy. By our last day in Italy, we were a bit worn out and needed an easy day. For me, an easy day always involves a tea room and writing or drawing in my journal. In fact, this is the fuel for an imaginative life; whether at home or in Italy... a book with blank pages, something to write or draw with, and a few hours with no other obligations (or a few hours outright ignoring other obligations). No matter what my mood may be; whether I'm battling a headache or facing a deadline, that combination of tea and journal-writing is always the perfect elixir. For a few minutes, I am able to take some simple observation of my external or internal world and place it within the confines of a page. A page has edges. A page is generally small and manageable. A page does not demand much from me... a few scribbles, a few words. Yet I consider what it gives back to me; perspective, delight, calm. It gives meaning to random events. It captures a moment (like cameras are supposed to do, though too often cameras rob me of my moment). So that is what our last day of Italy consisted of. We made our way by city bus to the Spanish steps. It was Monday morning, and we were to leave by that evening. We entered a tea shop named Babington's. The tea was divine, the scones tasted as if they were baked in Bath, England. The waitresses were dressed in robin's egg blue (linen) skirts. The girls reminded me of my own daughter, who is about that age and sews linen skirts by the dozens.

After tea, only metres away from the subway station, we noticed a Roma (gypsy) woman by the entrance to the subway. She was kneeling on the cobblestones and had a cup in front of her with a picture of the Madonna on the cup. She was not imposing in any way on the passerbys. She was praying continually and my assumption was that, if we contributed to her, she would include us in her prayers. I did drop something into her cup, as I cannot think of a more difficult way to spend a day under the hot sun. Please understand that my intention in drawing an image of her, is meant as a tribute to her. It is, in no way meant to comment in a negative way. She has her story too. We all have our stories. And all are valuable. And who knows, perhaps it was her prayer that got us home safe and sound. I like to think so.

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