Ciao. Ciao.

I’ve been away, in Italy, as I mentioned in my last post.   My husband and I took this special trip – just the two of us – to celebrate his milestone birthday.

The thing I love most about Europe is the way the old and new come together so seamlessly. On one corner stands a monument two thousand years old, the remains of a parliament building. Steps away is a gelato shop and boutique selling handmade paper.   The streets are cobbled, uneven and dusty, and the buildings, layered with paint and ridged with cracks.  It’s hard to imagine such a confluence of beauty in the U.S., but in Europe, I’m struck by how antiquity is preserved and even made modern and stylish.

It’s true in our own lives, too:  the past infuses the present.  Embracing our history, I’m certain, makes for a more graceful future.

While in Agrigento, in Sicily, Steve and I spent some time visiting the marvelous ruins at the Valley of the Temples.  Empedocles, one of the city’s great philosophers  from 490 BC (a period of wealth), summed up his fellow citizens like this:  “The people of Acrogis enjoy the pleasures and luxuries of this world as if they were to die the next day, but make their buildings as if they were to live forever.”

What a powerful philosophy: live vividly, with passion and exuberance; enjoy the riches of this world, large and small; trust that the foundations you build will endure, and that your spirit lives eternal.

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