All the Details of Daily Life

Raspberries on the Amalfi Coast

The older I get the more I realize that sometimes the only way to really understand something is to just sit with it for awhile. It’s a quiet sort of thing, so different from the logical approach and  gargantuan analytical effort of my academic days. Some things have to come in through the heart though, and it’s hard to make headway with them any other way. This struck me when I happened across a quotation by William Morris last week.

“The secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” – William Morris

If I had read that five years ago while I was in graduate school and studying the Arts & Crafts movement in Europe and America, I would have been confused. What details of daily life? You mean the lunch I didn’t have time to eat since I had a pile of readings to finish before class that night? Laundry? I’m sure I did it, but I have no recollection of it at all during those years.

If I had read that two years ago, I would have reflected on it as a goal. Life in Italy had already slowed me down and captured my attention. While hanging laundry below a 12th-century bell tower in Italy, it’s kind of hard not to take more interest in the details of daily life. Learning to cook Italian was slowly transforming the way I thought about food and cooking, and every day I fell in love a little more with every part of my new life.

Last Thursday when I read that quotation by Morris for the first time, it struck me as immediately true and sent off a warm vibration that resonated deep within in chest. This isn’t something I could have understood five years ago, but I felt that it was something I’ve been looking for my entire life. Yesterday on my birthday I thought that perhaps I’ve been sitting with it for 32 years now. My heart was finally open and ready. I went out to the garden early yesterday morning while it was still cool and the birds were singing in the shade. I knelt down and smiled when I saw there were a few ripe raspberries ready to be picked. I gently twisted them off and rested them in my palm, and then went back inside to make cappuccino and breakfast.

Three sweet raspberries on my yogurt. They would be gone in moments, but their existence was a little treasure.

Ready for the Regata!

Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche marinare Amalfi 2012 Banner

The Amalfi Coast woke up this morning to a sunny June day, picture perfect for the 57th Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare! Flags are flying all over town and it promises to be a fun day. We’re all ready for the regata! To share the festive spirit, here are some photos I took on Friday in Amalfi. I’ll share more photos of the historic parade and the boat race later this week. For the moment … FORZA AMALFI!!!!

Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche marinare Amalfi 2012 Flags

The flags for the four sea republics - Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa, Venice

Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche marinare Amalfi Cross of Malta Flag

Forza Amalfi! The main street of Amalfi decked out in flags.

Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche marinare Duomo of Amalfi

A little flag in Piazza Duomo in Amalfi

Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche marinare Piazza Duomo 2012

A very festive house in Piazza Duomo

Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche marinare Marina Grande 2012 flags

A festive bunch of flags at Marina Grande. Do you remember them all?