Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cloud Beauty, Umbrian Style 2013

  Remember those long, lazy days of kid hood, kicking back in the soft green grass, just staring at the clouds? 
  Of course you do...I think most of us still enjoy taking time to stare at the clouds, try and see a bunny or cat...or armadillo. Or, if you are Johnny, a heart. He always sees a heart. That's my Johnny.

  In the season that rides the fine line between late winter/early spring, when we are fortunate to be in Umbria, the clouds can put on an amazing show. 
  And then they pour. It's all good....the sunshine is that much sweeter after the storm.

  I have found that the beauty for me is the colors...the whitest white against the bluest blue, above the green and/or yellow. I love the texture, too. Big puffballs of drifting clouds, making their way slowly across the valley, or slowly over the lake. 
  These views stay with me all year, and I love to remember how they made me feel. Scared, when the clouds threatened thunder and lightning, or exhilarated when the light poured through to make the whole world a wonder to behold. 
  What did Joni sing..... "It's cloud illusions I recall....?"


Just as the sun begins to go down in Rome.
Pink clouds, I think.

Before the storm.  On a road outside of Panicale.

  So glad we took a few trips out to the islands of Lago Trasimeno this year. The 40 minute boat ride was the perfect time to sit and enjoy the sky.

On the lake.

Arriving to Isola Maggiore. 

I really love the dark and light aspects of clouds.
The top cloud has big, dark cheeks and a smile looking down.....

  Sometimes I have to tell Johnny to pull the car over (a task easier said than done, btw...), so I can capture a moment that I find extra pretty. Usually it's the big views. I swear, I must have hundreds of pictures of clouds. 
  Looking back, it seems so lovely and dramatic. But in reality, I know it was cold and often wet. And windy. And I was sort of complaining about all that....
  But man, the clouds were outstanding.

The road between Sant'arcangelo and Mugnano.

A stand of trees we see all the time, near Panicale. I want to hike up to them next trip.
Weather permitting....

  It's important to have my camera with me all the time...I don't have a smartphone. It's ok, I've gotten so used to my little camera. We always bring it on our morning walks to Paciano. Johnny and I love the big valley views from this small country road. He has painted the view several times, and it is place we go to in our minds all the time, when we are not there.
  Well, to be honest, it's a place I go all the time on Google earth, ...what can I say?

  What we especially love about this view, is that it encompasses both Lago Trasimeno, and the big valley "Val di Chiana". This entire area was a big wetland back in the days of the Etruscans. The area was deforested by both the Etruscans and later, the Romans, as they grew their empire. 
  At the beginning of the 16th century, what is now our beloved Lago Trasimeno, also included Lago di Chiusi and Lago di Montepulciano. It must have been one huge lake.

  I'm smitten by what we see there nowadays....

Looking across towards Cortona. I can see it's raining over there...

Across the wheat fields...That is Isola Polvese. The largest island on the lake.

Love the cloud shadow. And the olive trees.

This is from right outside the walls of Panicale.
The opposite side of town from the lake view.

  Of course, since it's March & April, we have some mighty storms that fly through the area. One moment it can be a gorgeous spring day, and come those clouds again.
  These next photos show a real doozy heading across the valley. This storm came so fast, did it's work, and moved right along. High drama!

Here it comes, just in the picture on the left side....

Yep. Time to head for cover. In this case, Bar Gallo, of course!

It eventually moved along, leaving us some nice sunshine later that afternoon.

  And so I don't end with a storm...Here is another lovely day....a pretty scene in Paciano. Clouds, clouds, I love the clouds...

Picture perfect.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

On Family & Such...

  I am overwhelmed by my feelings on family, after having just spent an enchanted wedding weekend with my loved ones.
  What can I say?..... We have this undeniable history in common, as most families do....time together as young ones, and these days, time so far apart as adults.
   I, for one, want to capture and save these few hours like the ephemeral moments they are....When will we share time like this again?
  I thank the lucky stars above that brought us together for a few days...
  Liz, Chris.... I can't thank you both enough for giving me the opportunity to connect with the folks I care so much about.... It's a crazy world we all live in, and being with family, especially somewhere so far from home, brings me back to a sweet sense of reality. A feeling of what is really important. 

  There's no place like home.

  Corny? You bet. But who can deny the pull of decades of familiarity.....the knowledge that we share, well.... at worst this gene pool... at best, this fantastic slide show of memories of: 
  Grandma & Grandpa Dottie,
  The Cabin, 
  The big and the little stuff in life-

  We are together in this mortal coil, in so many ways.

  What may have seemed like just another (totally fantastic) wedding...Well, for this Auntie, Cousin, Daughter, Wife...This was the connection I needed with my family, my tribe, my history, as it stands. I am so much the richer for it. 

  My heart is wide open and full. 
  Is that so wrong? 
  I don't think so...
  I think it's pretty damn cool.