The name Assisi contains memories of narrow streets and flower baskets, stone buildings, and the Piazza del Comune. One night in the piazza, I recall moonlight shifting, gelato dense and tart, the summer breeze welcome, and a language rich in vowels and made for song. Next to us, a lady with auburn ponytail and flowered skirt joins her friends. “Ciao,” she says and sits with them at a small table. Off by the fountain a man in a red shirt waves goodbye, and his friends shout “Ciao.”
While Italians have the same word for greeting and farewell, like the French “Salut” and the Hawaiian “Aloha,” English speakers use distinctly different words for arriving and leaving, and never use them in the same message. Oh, I take that back. Too long ago for most of us to recall, the comedian Groucho Marx sang, “Hello, I Must be Going.”
“Ciao” is on my mind because this blog is my last one. I’m writing it on a day in February when the birds ought to be chirping and the maple outside my window should be sprouting red growth. Instead, we have snow. Fitting, though, because I began the blog in the winter of 2017 and am closing it in an unexpectedly late winter of 2019.
“Starting from Anywhere” has been a unique journey, one that has meandered through treasured life experiences and favorite literature selections. Week after week, season after season, I snapped photos, searched out themes, and wrote until one day, not too long ago, I knew it was time to say goodbye.
Where is the hello? What happens next? I need to think about this, but over a cup of hot coffee laced with chocolate.
Three days later I am back at my desk, pushing sentences and paragraphs together, pulling them apart, and in the midst of this process, the weather has changed. The maple reveals scarlet growth and the sky is blue—for an hour or so. Time to return to my question. What arrives after the blog goes?
I certainly have enough reflections for another book. To purify and condense my thoughts into poetry also tempts me. Maybe I could spend more hours accomplishing nothing. Who knows? Like green sprouting from drenched earth, I have the freedom to start from anywhere.
Over two years ago, my blog began with the opening of T.S. Eliot’s Little Gidding. It seems only right to complete this final entry with lines found toward the end of the poem:
What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
To those who have traveled with me as visitors and followers, thank you. May the future give you what you need for arrivals and departures, whether unexpected or planned.
Pace e bene.