Tales of a wandering lesbian

Second chances

Yesterday I struck out on a great adventure – finding the forest path from Barga to Fornaci.  Armed with vague directions and an enthusiasm to find my way, I muddled along the wrong road, down the wrong path, and past the wrong goats – all the way to the wrong end of Fornaci.  It wasn’t until I got back and triumphantly posted about the excellent time I’d had that I learned I had been in the wrong place, traipsing through someone else’s woods.  To me it was a great adventure.

So, today, armed with the knowledge that I went the wrong way, and a few corrective instructions (“take the left fork” “it’s just past the big, beautiful villa”), I tried again.

The walk to the fork seemed quicker.  I recognized houses and crossed the road at the right points to avoid the whizzing cars.

Fortunately, there was only one fork before I reached the path.


There were, however several villas along the way.

Villa 1 Villa 2 Villa 3

I’m guessing the one I was looking for stood at the end of a long driveway, behind huge gates.


When I reached the end of the road this time, there was no mistake.  This was the path I was supposed to be on yesterday.  This was a legitimate PATH, complete with handrail and ropes to help me down the insanely steep slope.

Trailhead Path rails Path stairs

And there were dogs, cheering me along.


The path itself was nice.  After the initial steep, leaf-covered stretch, houses started to appear again, and the path became more of a road, eventually  turning into pavement.  It ran the entire length of a mountain ridge, only 10 yards wide in places, giving way to steep drops and dramatic, wooded views on either side.

Narrow path

Past grapevines and olive orchards it wound, eventually dropping off of the ridge right into Fornaci – 5 minutes from the house.  It was a great path.  I will take it again for sure, and probably make the reverse trek up the hill.  But, still, I really enjoyed the other walk.  Yes, the road took twice as long.  No, it wasn’t the way others would have gone.  But I had a blast, wonderfully unaware that my path was the “wrong” one.

When I got back today I thought about the second chances in my life.  The opportunities to evaluate, apply lessons-learned, and start again.  There are times I’ve had to pry second chances out of the world, but more often they’ve been given gently by others, or tentatively handed over by me, to myself.

Some people see second chances as a way to erase the past, happy to forget the first chance, the one that went the “wrong” way.  From now on, I will try to see them as a way to appreciate the beauty of the first chance, even if it’s a path I wouldn’t really want to walk again.

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November 26, 2009   8 Comments

A walkabout

Today was another good day.  I started a little moody, probably because I haven’t really worked out in a couple of months.  So I decided to go for a bit of a walk.  Deb had pointed out a beautiful hike from back above old Barga into the town.  I started out at the studio and walked the opposite direction than I usually go, out through the downtown and into the more residential parts.

I honestly don’t know how to use words to describe how gorgeous it was.  Here are some pictures.

Grapes and parapetBarga GateBeautiful old Barga door

As I snaked my way further and further away from Barga, along the inside of the hills, so that I was directly opposite the backside of the Duomo, I was treated to more and more beautiful views.

View from BargashinglesDuomo backside

I picked a place on the side of the road to meditate a bit.  I thought the quiet stillness would be good.  As I cleared a space in the grass and went to sit down, I saw a strange movement in the grass.  I almost brushed it aside, when I realized it was a praying mantis!

Meditating mantis

How fantastic!  I have really early memories of seeing these.  We don’t have them in Idaho and Oregon, and I always heard they were good luck.  So, I sat down close enough that I could watch this little guy, but far enough that I wasn’t stressing him.

Together, we sat and looked at the world.  He watched the aunts walk around him and shuddered in the little breeze.  I stared at the amazing views of Barga and the mountains behind, and tried to concentrate on my breathing.  It wasn’t easy today.  I was very easily distracted by things like the olive tree next to me and the brilliance of evolution (I know, gasp!).

I’m quite sure I’ll have more walks around Barga.  There are so many beautiful little places that make me tear up with their sheer beauty and possibility.  But I might have to stick to meditating downtown.  The beauty of the countryside is too distracting.

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October 30, 2009   2 Comments