the joy of being: giving thanks

This evening I walked with my dog along my beautiful, peaceful road.  The greens are screamingly intense, and nature is exploding at every possible turn.  The weather was balmy and breezy, the perfect spring evening.  My neighbors were working in their gardens, watering the baby potato plants, coaxing onions out of the rich soil. We've been working like mad dogs getting the winter washed off of our house and property, and preparing it for the high season.  It's been weeks of seemingly endless work.  Tomorrow the first guests arrive from Switzerland.  Everything that could be done has been done.  We stood back this afternoon, backs aching,  and pronounced ourselves ready.  Every year it's a battle to get prepared, and every year we manage to do it.  Somehow.

I even had a few moments of peace to sit in a field of high grass with Max.  I said a prayer of thanks in the setting sun.  I asked for safe travels for our arriving guests, that they can enjoy days of peace and well being in my home. I thought about my family far away.

I felt grateful for having this amazing gift of time in Italy, time to realize what is important and what counts.  Time to figure things out.

Time to grow up.

It's not that I was not an adult when I got here, because I most certainly was.  But facing adversity has made me more determined and focused.  When you face adversity, you face yourself.  That's the hardest part of it.   Learning to deal with your own emotions and keeping things in perspective.  It's not about how great you are when things are going well. It's about how you rise to the occasion when the occasion knocks you over.  When hope is hard to come by.

Change and challenges can be hard on us physically. I have learned that taking care of myself during the season is the only way for me to survive it.  Anyone in the business of innkeeping will tell you,  high season is not a sprint, it's a marathon.  You have to pace yourself.  I was so grateful this week to read Barrie Davenport's beautiful words about us and our bodies.  Her words are a key reminder to me of how critical it is to feel good in the body I have.

As I sat in that field, I recalled the excitement and nervous anticipation we had when we started this great adventure. We've come so far.  Our property has gone through transformation.  It's been our lives' work.   Here we are, starting our seventh season.  I've learned to worry a bit less and to relax a bit more, but it's still not my strong suit.  I am going to try to get the focus more out of myself than ever before by continuing to work on changing my habit of worrying. For some of us, not worrying feels like not breathing.  But it doesn't have to be that way.

We are fortunate to have the most wonderful guests in the world. People who take kindly to the gentle, loving imperfection that they find themselves surrounded by here on our hill. Innkeeping has given me the chance to have some of the most interesting interactions with people I never would have had the pleasure of meeting.  There's really no reason for me to worry, not at all.  My guests prove that to me over and over.

Most importantly, life in Italy  is about creating.  About freeing up energy to make new things happen.   I have met the most amazing people since starting this Italian journey.  Wonderful, intelligent people who are working hard to make a creative difference in their own lives.  Bloggers.  Writers.  Innkeepers. Cooks.  Tour specialists. Designers.  Screen writers. All building their own reality.  All learning, in their own way, to think big, beyond the limits we normally set upon ourselves.  They have become my inspiration.

So I move forward, grateful, inspired, ready to make pancakes and frittata and juice and hang sheets in the Italian sun.  Welcome, new season.  Glad you are here.