I can sense the end is near. Like the smell of ripe grapes on Tuscan vines. You are sure you can smell it in the air. My heart knows it. I suddenly know how far I’ve come, all those towns ago. All those village churches and all those steps I’ve made on paths. What’s flowed through me. I’ve walked enough to notice how the food changes across miles yet the men of the village still sit together and commune. The weather has begun to shift. I’ve strengthened this body and mind, and gathered my gifts to take home and grow my life bigger. I know a friend’s love. The love between my parents that makes me melt. The love in me. The richness of this very moment. Everything has changed in a month, and nothing has. My Dad is in his final stage of recovery. It’s a happy ending. We are taking Italy home with us.
When we reached the Monastero Regina Pacis this afternoon it brought back the memory of arriving at an Aosta Ostello with my Mom and Dad, two days into joyous walking together, with no inkling my Dad would be in hospital that night. When I told Sylvie where my thoughts had gone we both cried spontaneously up to the monastery door. A nun opened and gazed at us.
18km later we are here with six pilgrims. The nuns cooked a lovely dinner for us tonight. Life is good and holy. But I have a confession to make. Tomorrow we are skipping a day of walking and catching a bus past the next leg, to start in Sutri. You see, Sylvie and I have decided we would like an extra day in Rome. We have come a long way to be here not to linger longer and enjoy the sights of incredible Rome. So that’s it, no more rules. Life is too short. Saturday we sashay into Rome, just how we’d like to. Exuberantly. Our way.