Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Eternal City






"I have a proposal for you..."

"...Ok...?"

"What would you think about...for your vacation time...of...going with me to...Rome?"

"Yes."

It was out of my mouth as soon as I heard the word.

Rome. The Eternal City.

My response, was, what they would say in French, une évidence. Of course, I would go to Rome with Christophe. If I had travelled the world, - lucky me - and yet had never been, the reason was quite simple. I had been waiting to go with him.

He has come into my life like something like a fire-bomb, one that burns in the very best way. The first night that we spoke on the phone, it was until 2am. The second? 5:30. Rooster-crowing time. And so the connection began.

He lives in Paris. I live in Provence. And yet we somehow see each other nearly once a week. Or try our best to do so. I am broke from the train tickets and yet grateful. That was the word I used this morning, in speaking to the owner of my studio flat. She is one of my guardian angels. "Grateful to the Universe?" she asked. "Yes. Exactly," I replied.

And so to Rome.

He doesn't travel like I do, preferring to get up when I usually go to bed in order to take the first flight out. And so I felt a little blurred around the edges as I stepped out of the Termini Train station. Walking head held high because this is Rome after all, and realising with the turning of gazes that the weight that I have put back on (yes, its true, all of it) is actually a good thing in Italy if not in stick straight France. Mamma mia.

And somehow that bubble of non-reality never quite popped. Arrival on the morning of the 22nd, departure on the evening of the 26th. Four quick nights, and no, I won't tell you about those nights. Those are mine. Those are ours.

But the evenings? They were my favorite. It had been my hunch, somehow, but how could I have known? Maybe I have been to la bella Roma before after all, another lifetime ago. To walk and walk those cobblestone streets. To turn a corner and find the Pantheon looming above me, Jack and the Beanstalk-like as tears of surprise rose like the columns lit in a pale golden light. We leaned on each other when we got tired. We kissed and never got gelato.

He planned it all, having lived there last year and only very recently haven given up trying to start a business, too complicated, too frustrating. So he knew what he enjoyed and suspected where I would feel the same. It is amazing how right he was.

The Eternal City.

One could say that Love, with the big L, is the true Eternal City and Rome is an expression of that. Love in all its deep complexities, Rome in love with itself. Christophe and I were in the midst of all that, bouncing around in taxis through numerous piazzas, politely ignoring the well-intentioned texts declaring what we "must" do, knowing that each Rome is personal. In my photo dispatches my beautiful Mother and Sister exhaled, "you look blissfully happy," just as my friend Gérard responded, "you have a glass of wine in your hand in every single one." Both were right.

My joy, my love and my gratitude to Christophe. And to Rome.
For there is only one first time for everything, and this first felt both newer and older than the monuments, full of nothing but beauty and absolutely all that is good.

Grazie, grazie mille.
















63 comments:

  1. How wonderful to read this post from you. To breathe freely, to share your real self with someone who values that journey...bliss!
    Thank you for sharing these moments.
    Angela Muller

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    1. "To share your real self"...yes! I feel so seen and supported by Christophe. You understand perfectly Angela. Bisous

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  2. My heart is full for you. How well I remember changing trains in Paris en route into the city from the airport when I was simultaneously hit with the smell of fresh bread and the sight of a chocolatier in front of me and I burst into tears. That journey, like the one that has brought you to Rome, came after a very difficult time. So, yes, joy, but gratitude as well.

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    1. My beautiful friend. This touched me deeply. Thank you for being you.

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  3. I am SO happy for you guys. Especially YOU !!
    Sending love, darling Heather.

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  4. Ah, Rome for the first time! And with a lover, there is NOTHING more magical. Thank you for letting the glow of that time reflect upon us, your faithful readers. And a BIG "Thank You" to the universe for the glow that is visibly radiating from YOU!! This makes me very happy. (and there is nothing like love to add a few pounds...ask me why I know....)

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    1. How do you know?? ;) But more importantly, when are you returning to Provence? It misses you. It told me so. Thank you for this friend. Kisses

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    2. THIS SUMMER! We are staying in an area new to us (we have visited for the day, but not much more than that), near Carpentras and my big sister will be joining us. To say I am excited is a gross understatement! xoxo

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  5. Such happiness that you have once again found love. Bravo.

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  6. Rocket, wishing you a Fantastic Trip .. Enjoy !!

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  7. Delighted to read these words! Thrilled for you, Heather, in so many aspects! T xx

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  8. My eyes welled up. So happy to get a post from you, and double happy that you are contented.
    The universe unfolds as it should....
    Ali

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    1. But wow sometimes it takes a reeeeally long time! ;)) With gratitude to you Ali.

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  9. I am so happy you are so happy! Time has come!

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    1. Ευχαριστώ πολύ !! We had such a great time in Rome...it makes sense to go to Greece next doesn't it?? ;) xo

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  10. What a wonderful trip, Heather! Am so very happy for you! All the waiting and all the wisdom has now become manifest. You are so deserving of love and happiness. Thanks for sharing your story and the photos.
    Best to you!

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    1. You are so wonderful Laura...We are ALL deserving of love and happiness! :) And it is interesting...falling in love doesn't make the challenges in life disappear...life continues...but...what moments of magic it can bring. Best to you always...xoxox

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  11. Heather, can you imagine how happy I am for you? Discovering Rome in Love...I doubt that anyone experiences that as fully (or shares it as beautifully) as you. Thank you for this post. Jubilantly, Leslie����

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    1. I can imagine my dear friend. Can you imagine how beautiful (and that really is the word) it is for me to read and feel all of these comments, with so much love coming towards me (and Christophe) from around the world? With love to you.

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  12. Very happy post. I've been holding my breath for you for a long time, and there is nowhere better to be in love! I was once, and in the Eternal City, so enjoy for all it's worth! XO

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    1. This brought tears to my eyes. To know you have been concerned for me. Thank you...xo

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  13. I am so happy you are so happy!

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  14. Dear Heather, It's good to read these comments and see that so many others of your readers join with me in simply being happy to read that you're happy. All I have to offer are two things.......a song and poem (which you should know)...

    Go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKWcJnvqOMs

    And, then?:


    Recuerdo
    By Edna St. Vincent Millay
    "
    We were very tired, we were very merry—
    We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
    It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
    But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
    We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
    And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

    We were very tired, we were very merry—
    We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
    And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
    From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
    And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
    And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

    We were very tired, we were very merry,
    We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
    We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
    And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
    And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
    And we gave her all our money but our subway fares."

    Sincerely, and with all the best wishes for you.........
    David Terry
    Quail Roost Farm
    Rougemont, NC
    USA

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    1. I know both, my dear David. And yet I have never understood that beautiful ESVM poem quite as I do now. Amazing as I have read it so many times. It made me sense to me...the simple joy of being in love where the simplest of moments shine into something so much "more"...a bit of an Eternal City, as I wrote. With Love and Gratitude, H.

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  15. Dear Heather. I am so happy you've shared Rome with us. It's always good to hear from you. And I am so happy that you're happy. Because I can feel it, your happiness. And it is well deserved.
    I did not know that you had never visited Rome but now I know why your words always resonate with me so much. Because we are a bit alike in many things. You too have made the connection with Rome. Like you, I always feel like I have walked those ancient cobble stones before, no matter how many times I visit (last year was my 5th time), that feeling is always there. It has never left me. And it will never leave you. It will stay with you. Forever.

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    1. Its so beautiful what you wrote Loree. And we are alike in many, many things. It has been our connection since many years now! Isn't that wonderful? Thank you for your perspective and your kindness. kisses

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  16. I am beyond happy for you! When I saw your name in my inbox, I just knew it had to be extra good! Rome is so beautiful. 'My Christophe' & I stayed, along with some other relatives, in an apartment about a block from the Pantheon, and that building and piazza is probably one of my all time favorite places in the world. It was all so romantic and awe inspiring. Eating dinner under candlelight in the piazza - I was there with you, reliving our wonderful experience and hoping that yours was just as fabulous - which beyond doubt, it appears to be so!!! Happy happy happy for you! Love, Judi

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    1. I took that same picture of the corner statuary medallion, as I recall it was right there by the Trevi fountain - another incredibly romantic and beautiful place! Love your photos, memory makers!

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    2. Oh Judi. Of course, this too brought tears to my eyes to imagine you there with Christopher. It does again just typing those words. With much, much Love to you my dear friend.

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    3. And yes, I loved that medallion by the fountain. A reminder, if we choose to believe so, that Angels are all around us. No one was looking at that medallion...only the fountain...and yet it is there. xo

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  17. I check ever so often to see if you have surfaced! .....and to my joy you have. Gorgeous pictures and joyful news. As everyone else has said “so happy for you” !

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  18. So nice to hear from you again. Thanks for the beautiful pics of Rome. Brings back lots of memories - Very happy for you. Best wishes FLRose

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  19. I am so glad the reason we haven't heard from you is because things are good. Christophe is a lucky guy.
    Rome is indeed magical, and your photos are breathtaking. Some of them look as if you had staged lighting, which I know you didn't, but it's so perfectly dramatic. You have a great eye.

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    1. Thank you! I haven't figured out the crazily complicated Photoshop on my new computer so these are not even processed correctly! And taken on the Samsung phone that Mr. C so kindly gave me when my phone also bit the dust. As for him? I would say that I am the lucky girl. But your comment touched him too. Bisous

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  20. The joy is partly ours, dear Heather, to see you back here! What a lovely post sharing the happiness in your heart and the beauty of Rome. Avanti, bella!

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    1. Avanti, beautiful friend! Toujours...with Love to you!

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  21. AND SO YOU ARE LIVING LIFE!!!!!!!!!
    MA COME SEI BELLA ROMA AND YOU HAVE FOUND HAPPINESS ONCE AGAIN!
    BLISS BLISS BLISS!!!!!!
    WHAT A BEAUTIFUL POST!GOING BACK TO DEVOUR THOSE PHOTOS!MY ITALIAN is from ROME!!!!!!!!
    XX

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  22. :) Smiling from ear to ear right now! :)

    So very glad to see this post and hear you are happy! I have been wondering how you have been doing! Your writing and photos are wonderful as always! Thanks for keeping us updated! ! ! :) :) :)

    Sherrill

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    1. Oh thank you Sherrill! I was so touched by the comments and mails after my last post. I really liked David's idea to at least keep in touch. And especially if I have something of importance to share. I think that this counts!! ;) Thank you for the happy smile. I am wearing one too now. xo

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  23. Dear Heather, thinking back over your comments concerning "stopping" your blog? It occurs to me that you, like all of us, tend to pay too much atention to the celebrities......usually movie stars (as opposed to actual actors, and I know you used to work in the theater) and popular singers......will Cher or Frank Sinatra or Fleetwood Mac EVER have a "Final Farewell Tour"? (and would Madonna PLEASE have one?).

    I would urge you, in terms of your blog, to simply adopt the stance of many writers (I can begin naming them, but I'l spare you that) who, having had critical and commercial success, simply stop making every little bit of their lives/work public. Phillip Roth and Eudora Welty (quite unlike, say, publicity-mad Gore Vidal or Norman Mailer, were quite articulate in stating that they had found themselves so carefully rending to a previously established "public image" that they found themselves with little wriggle-room to think, grow, develop, gestate, etcetera......which is what a genuinely creative person such as they or you does.

    It's not a matter of shutting one's doors (like some aging film-star who's lost her looks), or suddenly "going dark". In your case (and I know of your spiritual leanings/impulses)?........take a hint from my Quaker friends (we have many of them here in North Carolina).......sitting there and observing and listening without speaking isn't a rejection of anything......and it's just fine to say "I'll speak when I feel I have something important to say". This is how Quaker meetings are run.

    Run your blog that way. It's not as though you're shelling products off it, and need to please/gratify your sponsors

    In short, concentrate on doing what you're doing/being.......and speak up when you feel you have something to say. In between-times?.....it's rather obvious youhave a loyal following who are always glad to hear from you.

    Fondly,

    David Terry
    Quail Roost Farm
    Rougemont, NC
    USA
    www.davidterryart.com

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  24. Dear David Terry,
    I hate to break it to you but Frank is dead.
    All my best...

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    1. Dear Needlessly Cruel and Spiteful "Anonymous",

      Just because Frank is "Dead" to you does not mean that he is dead to this increasingly aged, predictably lonesome homosexualist. I can put on "Only the Lonely" at anytime, and it's just like our first date......all over again.....as though the years had never gone by. Frank's still here for me whenever I summon him.

      That said?.......the guy DID rack up an impressively-long list of supposed retirements and "Farewell" concerts. I'll admit that, yes, I am pretty certain he's dead (just as I'm equally sure that Liza Minnelli and Cher will never be dead). Amsuingly enough, a bunch of folks at dinner party at my house last year started bickering over whether Liza Minelli was dead, fifteen or so years ago, or still high-kicking her way around stages. I told everyone that they had to think and told them they couldn't google the matter on their telephones. It was an amusing evening, as we wenton to consider Joan Collins and other, similarly well-preserved celebrities. The best comment was "Well, if Joan collins WERE dead?....How would you know?"

      Sincerely, david Terry

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  25. OMG, I'm so happy for you! And for me, because seeing your lushly beautiful photos is such a treat. Grazie, indeed ;-)

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  26. We both surface, from different places and ways, but wonderfully. I was fascinated by how many echoes of Arles you found in Rome; maybe a way of looking ...seeing.

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    1. Exactly! What a cool comment...this pleased me to no end. :) In Provence we call Arles "the little Rome of Gaul" and so I think that I did form my way of seeing through Arles' heavily patina-ed streets. I didn't really spend time taking photos in Rome because I still haven't figured out how to do that and remain present with another person but the things that did catch my eye? Oweeeee. Such incredibly Beauty!

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  27. Such majestic awe inspiring photographs. Beautiful memories.

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    1. Yes, yes, yes...such memories. Thank you for your very generous compliment!

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  28. Reading you Happy is awesome beyond words

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    1. Hmm. Thank you. It was a moment of pure bliss. I know how rare those are. So it was extra special. :)

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  29. Hi Heather,
    So lovely to hear the happiness spilling over from your comments! It has come when you were ready for it!
    The photos were brilliant. How could they not be? As another person observed, I had a smile on my face to see some "Arles-esque" patina-ish photos edge their way in! It's a matter of observing these details wherever you are. I hope he has a creative eye also!
    Hugs from Melbourne,
    Deborah

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    1. Hi Deborah! So good to hear from you and thank you for the lovely comment. Yes, I do love seeking time's traces. I just find them beautiful! I did some similar photos in Venice too!! :) Chris definitely has a creative eye and spirit - plus a super quick wit!!! Hugs back.

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