Introspection

It's the busy time.

My life is busy, full and active.  Guests come, savor, move on.  Wine flows, breads pop in and out of the oven in a flash.  The weather turns on a dime, leaving mist in the morning's unseasonable heat, giving the wasps and the hornets pause as they spiral around.  I ask if someone would like a touch of garden peperoncino in the frittata this morning, or if just a poached egg will do with the last of the sliced tomatoes.

I try to stay focused, calm.  Sometimes I succeed, other times, I fail, relinquishing myself to ten minutes alone to calm frazzled nerves or unsure feelings.  Did I tell our guests to turn right instead of left?  Sometimes I make that mistake - often, in fact. Did the restaurant at which I made reservations do the description justice, or is the chef not feeling up to par tonight?  I try not to take things too personally but when you want someone's first holiday in Northwestern Italy to be perfect, worry is part of the day.  And night.

In the end, we wave good bye, Max's paw raised in tradition, and we run to strip sheets, polish and clean and rest a bit so that when the next guests try to negotiate the curves of our driveway we are fresh and renewed and it feels to them like it's the first time we've been hosts.

All the while, the scent of burning wood is clearer each morning and the humming strands of winter's approach cause me to straighten my backbone in preparation for what is to come:  wood by the cord, dampness driven away by the warmth of the fire, and entire vineyards turning russet and yellow and ochre.

And with that as the background music, I rush to open email after email as my novel reaches its final stages cover design and detail, making sure that every word on every page is perfect and thought through and right.  No one can prepare you for what it takes to have a book published.  Mindfulness is required at every single step. A soon as we pack the last sheets away for the season - ironed with lavender in between each - I'll be booking flights to Rome and New York as my words are released to the world and I let them take the path they were always meant to have.

But I won't rush the process. No.  I will take today for what it is, an extension of summer's hazy arch, and stretch the sheets from branch to branch, dip my toes into the ever-cooler pool, thank Spirit that we have found this place, this time, this amazing home to share and to grow.