No dollar sign on a peace of mind…

Every spring, except the one I spent living in Puerto Rico, enters my life the same way. One moment I’m freezing, bundled tightly in layers of cotton and wool, and the next I’m running my barefoot toes through the new blades of grass and wishing with all my might that I lived on the banks of the Mediterranean Sea. Newly emerged from the chrysalis of a dreary, dead winter, I’m amazed, every year, at the beauty I see around me. And Easter, ah Easter, with its colors, gaiety, and joyful hope!

I miss Massa Marittima around this time every spring…the little city in Tuscany Amy and I escaped to a few years ago. The cathedral in the center of the town with a boy who sang a haunting melody that seeped its way through the columns and the stones of the church and into my heart and soul and memory… The hotel on the edge of Massa’s mountain complete with grandchildren and Easter cakes and chocolate eggs as big as your head filled with toys and guaranteed to carry even the most gluttonous child through until summer… And the serenity of being in a town so far removed from both the hustle of Rome and the stress of everyday American life…

The Cathedral in Massa Marittima
This year, spring break will not be the romantic endeavor to the hills of Italia or any other foreign port. I’ll spend the first part of the break here, playing catch up with my school work. Then I’ll head to Tennessee to meet up with family members I haven’t seen in months. As the years fly by and months scurry in between each visit to see grandparents and cousins, I’m always fascinated by how much everyone changes while managing to still stay so blessedly familiar, so achingly like home.

Every day on the way to school, I thank God for this life; for the opportunity to see the colors pop from the new blossoms coating the trees, for the sunshine, the giggles of the children in my class, and the little boy who picks flowers for me every day during recess. It’s the little things that make up our lives and the little things I am so grateful for when the big issues–graduating and finding a job, for example–seem so absolutely overwhelming.


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