Blessed is Nature-Gaya

When I was a kid, I never really considered myself much of a nature girl. I was more of an
"indoor" girl. I liked bookstores, libraries. I did like the beach but the thought of staying all day in the sun never really enticed me.

As I grew older, however, I grew to appreciate nature much more, and I owe that appreciation to the Italians... in particular to Luciano, my first big love. Luciano was raised by an overbearing single mother and aunt. As a result, he loved to get away from their control, and escape to the beach and the mountains. But while he loved to get out, I really loved to stay at home and read.

I eventually realized that if I didn't go with him on his outings, he would soon be surrounded by girls and thus, for sheer selfish and jealous reasons, I began to go with him.

Getting up at the crack of dawn and going on a long car drive was at first a little bit of a challenge. I must be part Vampire as I do not like bright light and prefer nighttime over cheerful sunny days. But love requires effort and to be honest, looking back, why would I ever complain and not want to go to the beautiful coastal regions of Italy with my dear boyfriend?

During the summer, we woke up at seven, packed our gear, swimsuits, and suntan lotion.  We then went into his lime green FIAT 500 and headed out for our journey. Living in Scandicci, located on the outskirts of Florence, we would either go to local areas such as Forte Dei Marmi or head out further, sometimes driving as much as three hour. It was somewhat ironic because I grew up five minutes from the beach and rarely went.

On the way, we would stop and buy fresh bread, cheese, prosciutto and these juices that were thick and made of apricot and pear. Dessert was a piece of fresh fruit. And then back in the car where we drove off, laughing and loving life and each other until we hit our destination. There, we would be a group of friends, all young with beautiful bodies and smiles and we would spend the day swimming and eating our sandwiches until the sun set. After a long day, with our bodies tan and our feet coated in sand, we would head back home to have a big pasta dinner.

Life seemed so sweet and it was then,  during that time that I really began to appreciate the splendors of nature. The warm sun on my back, the soft clear water of the Mediterranean, the smell of the ocean, the colors, the scents, the beauty.

I am a firm believer that nature and being in touch with nature is good for my soul. I start my mornings as much as possible by going outside. After having a cup of coffee, I begin my deep breathing exercises with my bare feet planted upon the cold wet ground.

In fact at this very moment, as I am writing, I am in my garden with my two dogs, watching my daughter practice her gymnastics. I hear the birds chirp, feel the cool breeze,
see the vast endless pale blue sky. I breathe in and out. I feel alive.