Sometimes I wonder if I have a limited capacity for joy.

It’s not that I don’t have happy moments. I mean those stretches of time, however brief they may be, when joy permeates every inch of me, when it reaches into the deepest part of me and I feel whole.

I traveled nearly halfway around the world hoping to catch a glimpse of it.

On my last morning in Tuscany, I got up early and walked around the resort property. (As an aside, I highly recommend this. Waking early to roam with no confused tourists or harried locals, is one of the best ways to know a place—untainted by other people’s energy.) I walked around, inhaling the fresh, warm morning air, listening to the symphony of cicadas in the trees, feeling the stillness all around me. I walked and explored, ambling along and doing my best to take in this country that I love so much.

The sun, up for an hour or so, began to warm the earth. Nature was springing to life, though still half asleep.

Look over there, the earth said. Beyond the vines of grapes was a band of gold as far as the eyes can see.

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Even from far away, the field of sunflowers was breathtaking.

Imagine seeing this in the quiet of the early morning,

I looked up and around me. I was so moved by the beauty of the landscape. No, moved is too light of a word. I felt a deep reverence for the place.

Walk a little farther, the path said to me. I listened.

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It was as if the country and I merged, its energy wrapping its way around every inch of me, every organ, every cell, every piece of my soul.

And there it was.  Joy.

xo, with goodness and grace.

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