Thursday, January 31, 2013

Nun on the Run

It was my third day in Assisi.  The first day that I had totally to myself after a whirlwind weekend of arrival facilitated by old friends, followed by a day in Umbertide with a host of new friends, enjoying an afternoon's celebration of birthdays.

After some grocery shopping at one of the supermarcati in Santa Maria that morning, and a relaxing lunch at my apartment, I took the first of what would become my daily ritual strolls through parts of the town.  My camera became an appendage, a growth that nestled nicely in the palm of my right hand, every ready for it's sole purpose in life, documenting everything I saw and wondered about.  I spent hours taking in sights and sounds during those weeks and my camera, my best friend, helped me focus in on the smallest of details while my brain took the bigger pictures. By the time I left, I knew every inch of the town.

On this particular afternoon, I walked all the way down the street of my little "home" and spent time exploring my neighborhood   I was satisfied that I was getting my bearings and I started back. As I reveled in the late afternoon's sunshine, the wind started to pick up, ever so slightly.  Evening had started its approach when I spotted the lovely young nun as she made her exit from the "Casa Reposo" home for the aged. I imagined she was a nurse.. As she walked up the street,  she clutched the edges of her sweater to brace against the chill and her short veil started to respond to the wind every so slightly. I wondered how aware she was of my presence as I followed her.  My camera was ready, waiting for the perfect time and place for what I imagined would become a lovely photo of Nun With Veil in Wind.  It never happened. The alacrity in her step prevented it. This was a woman with intention.  She was on a mission and I realized that it was not my mission any longer.  The time was hers and hers alone.

As she rounded the bend in the quiet street, she came to an open space which provided a view of the valley below.  She stopped for a few moments and gazed at the vista ahead, studying the scene.  Was she in quiet contemplation?  Was she praying?  Or, was it much closer to the home of every one who has ever been a caretaker.  Was she simply taking a break from the demanding work of elder care?  Were her patients all infirm?  Had she had it up to the tip of her veil with the task?  Had she just had a moment inside that made her wonder why she was there in the fist place?  So young.  Surrounded by so old, except for these moments, alone, with the wind catching her, sweeping her away to some place other than this one.

  This was the perfect scenario for me. I live for moments like this one. Scenes from real life in which I don't know all of the facts. Scenes that allow me to fill in the blanks and weave a story if only to entertain myself.

 I'm the kind of person who sees a pair of sneakers  hanging over a telephone wire in the street and wonders what were the last words of the person who threw them.  I'm always ready for the story, always waiting for that perfect moment when it all comes together. Who. What. When. Where.  Aren't these the Holy Grail of storytelling?  So, it was perfect and perfectly natural for me to weave a good one around the sight of the nun.

After a few moments to herself, Sister turned around and walked back to the door from which she had exited.  Back to work.  Back to the life she had chosen.  The one she had thought about running away from just moments before.  

It's my story and I can tell it any way I want to.........

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