When I saw this challenge, I immediately remember visiting the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy, and quickly flitted across the ocean to Vizcaya Gardens in Miami. Any film that ever has a garden maze filled with ladies in stunning ball gowns, playing hide-and-go-seek or even Alice as she prepares to follow the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole into Wonderland always stirs this memory for me. Come with me, let’s go for a run!
Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?
Today’s twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.
The soft spring breeze ripples over the countryside, kissing every living thing buongiorno as cottony clouds lazily roll by. The straw yellow glow of morning mirrors the bottomless glasses of Trebbiano from last night’s party. Sheer curtains billow through the open doors along the winding veranda, casually waving ciao like so many locals in the village below.
Marble, stone, and metal lace themselves throughout the patio like satin ribbon through corset eyelets. Such lasting masterwork is quite hard to discover in modern eras as the groundskeeper will continually remind guests. Even now, he polishes the aged wood with the gentle touch of a father, lovingly doting upon his child. Generations of his family have maintained the estate, but treasure it like family.
The glorious panorama of terraced fountains, winding paths, and trellised alcoves are unobstructed and flow into one another seamlessly, creating a dynamic symphony for the eyes and a perfect hideaway for for lovers. The water ripples and rumbles as the fountains spring to life, signaling the start of the day. The first mist of the morning lingers in the air as the dew still clings to the stone surfaces and foliage. The rustling of the neighbors in their nests, dens and lairs begins as the sun begins to climb higher in the sky.
Gravel shifts with each step along the path. Comfortable ballerina flats mercifully replaced last night’s high heels, so my feet molded against the ground beneath. The birds’ chipper chorus whispers in my ears as the crisp morning air fills my lungs. My pace slows as the scent of buxom roses perfumes the air. I close my eyes and breath deeply. With each step, years of worry, stress, deadlines, and meetings melt away. The noise pollution, the taxi horns, and the market bells dim reluctantly.
I stop simply to soak everything in. Arms stretched out, deep breaths peel away layers of frustration, inhibition, and negativity. The sunshine warms my forehead gently, like the kisses my grandparents would press upon my brow. Opening my eyes, nearly thirty years have vaporized, and the garden wants to play. My pace quickens to the sound of gravel crunching. Tall green hedges of varying shades of lush green beckon, challenging me to get lost. Butterflies bounce gaily along the flower beds, guiding the way. I touch everything as I pass: leaves, blossoms, stone, water; rediscovering each for the first time.
I gather fistfuls of my voluminous ball gown and run. I dart around corners and zip around paths. Satin and silk swish defiantly, refusing to touch anything for fear of getting soiled. The weight of the dress vanished as I descended the winding stone steps, leading into the lower gardens. Further and further away from the safety and civilization of the veranda and it’s covered balconies. Faces carved into stone and elegant marble statues look on in wonder. Oh, I wish I could hear the stories of their lifetimes. While moss threatened to claim them, it was clear which welcomed the invasion and which fought valiantly.
Bougainvilleas and wisteria overran a large, wooden gazeebo. Shocks of rich magenta danced with cascades of muted lavender, creating a miniature Eden with an Endless Paradise. Without hesitation, I lounged on the stone bench, allowing the dress to pool around me. In this moment, there was no cell phones, televisions, clocks, or distractions. The chill from the stone seeped through the dress and caressed my bare skin. Despite the hair standing on the back of my neck, I felt the tension liquidate and slip away. A pair of chipmunks busied themselves with some foraging without forsaking essential playtime.
La vita bella— the beautiful life — is found in the simple things, but the key is making time to rediscover them.
Word Count: 625
Assignment Date: September 16, 2014