Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Room With A View



Perhaps Italy draws you to it, as a warm country does to the English.

When I saw A Room With A View when it came out in 1985 I thought to myself: I must have Helena Bonham-Carter as Lucy Honeychurch's hair or die, and I got a misguided perm and looked like a medusa with bangs. I wore my heart on my sleeve.

But bad hair is not the point. The point is a field of poppies overlooking Florence, and men with names like Giovanni, Niccolo, Bartolomeo and Tommaso packing Chianti into rustic baskets and putting their hands together in the gesture, "Mama mia!" and my first taste of romance, and I quote, "the heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing."

How I understood Julian Sands as George Emerson in the scene from the movie where he climbs up in a tree and shouts, "Truth!" "Beauty!" "Love!"

Then, in my late 20s, I went to Rome and found a marble fountain that an artist had adorned with a perfect copper turtle, green with patina, and I further embellished the scene with myself, seeking shade, and a gelato made of hazelnuts.

That person -- what a frutti di bosco sylph was she! -- is long gone; she's probably by a stream somewhere staring at her own face.

I have cankles now. But I still have my mind is what I say, raising my fist (not going gentle). Research shows learning a second language staves off Alzheimer's.

So Io sono la donna in my 40s learning Italian from an app on my iPhone into which I must speak softly Giovanni, lui e l'uomo, while waiting to pick up the kids from carpool. I am corporeally in in this world, the sports camps of Baltimore County, but spiritually I am in Italy.


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