I found myself in the beautiful and serene neighborhood that is home to the delicate Chiesa di Santa Margherita, on the Vicolo S. Andrea. There's a little bench, possibly placed by generous residents for the use of passers-by who, astonished by the stunning area, might sit, as I did, to enjoy the view for a few moments before taking off for the Via Santa Croce, a higher elevation.
It was another of those incredible fall days, The aroma of wood burning in fireplaces in the area homes permeated the air. The sky was sapphire blue but was already yielding to the soft shades of pinks and lavenders that signal the onset of the daily ritual which takes the sun from the glory of its peak to its return toward the open arms of the horizon. The approach of the chill in the air reminded me that soon the days would be shorter. But for now, I had nothing to do but stroll, fill my senses with the beauty and take note of each and everything I experienced for I knew that my time in the sun here was limited to just a few short weeks before I also would return to the horizon of my real life elsewhere.
As I gazed around, I noticed a tiny handmade sign. .It was hung from a rusty nail which projected out of a rock in a limestone wall, not far from the thoughtful bench. The sign caught my fancy. Si prega di non lasciare rifuti was the message, neatly hand printed on the wooden plaque, hung in plain sight so as to be noticed by all who came by. Please do not leave trash here was the sing maker's petition. Here? Who would mar this beautiful spot by the leaving of anything more than a footprint? I was so mystified by the need for the sign and so caught up once again in a moment of serendipity that I naturally snapped a picture, one of the hundreds that have served me so well in my memory of last fall.
"Angelo, did you make that sign?"
"Yes. I made it and hung it there last week"
"Why the message Angelo? Was there a problem?
"Yes, there was a problem. I got tired of bending down every time I came out, to pick up trash left behind by people who came to sit on our bench"
"Angelo, I can understand why you asked that people "please" do not leave trash but Angelo, after that, why do you feel the need to end with thank you? It's like thank you for not littering. Thanks for being civil and acting like a nice person. What's the matter with you my friend?"
"Okay, Leonardo, I'm going to scratch it off right now"
"Way to go Angelo! Thank you for not thanking anyone for not littering! I'm going to sneak out here and scratch off the please part when you're not looking"
"See you tomorrow Leonardo"