April 20, 2013


I am a cliché, but that's okay.

The past weeks I spent in and around Rome and traveling through Tuscany. It wasn't a conscious decision I made, going to Rome, but perhaps the lifelong dream of one day having a villa near the Mediterranean Sea, writing endless songs about it, planning to build tree houses by the river and watching To Rome With Love or Roman Holiday played their respective parts. The moment I set foot on the train that took me from Fiumicino Airport to Termini station I started smiling, and I guess I didn't stop until the plane lifted off the runway weeks later. During my first night, I walked up the Spanish Steps at midnight and made my way up to the Pincio, where I gazed over the city, purple skies behind the pines of Rome and the happiest tears making their way down my cheeks. Breathing in, tasting my own tears. I've come for a reason, I've come to discover beauty and peace, to become more balanced and find romance in solitude. 
I was in love with this city. I made it.

      Beauty is like remembrance, cast

        From Time long past.

                                                                  - P.B. Shelley 

It took a few days to figure out where I was, to realize that I had changed my habitat, that this was something completely new and undiscovered. I kept thinking about all the things that had happened in the past few months. I had finished a bunch of years in New York. I had moved away from Amsterdam. I made new memories, remember? I felt like writing and figured that inspiration would be something not hard to find in a city like Rome. What I didn't foresee, was the impact that this inspiration would have on me.  

During my first week, friends of mine invited me to visit the city of Tivoli. It was a place that presented itself in strange ambivalence, yet once I started taking in the pretty things around me, I fell into a deep, irrelevant hole of nothingness. How did I get here? Gazing off the balconies of the Villa D'Este, I realized that I would no longer talk to people, neither would I share my impressions and instead walk behind my friends, so I could stop, ponder and take in more of the things that we passed. So many balconies, so many views. But why? Why do people come here? I wondered. My friends knew the history of the place, they read all the brochures and discussed the love life of Lucrezia Borgia during our train ride. I had to look out the train window, into the quaint mountains. They were clear and mighty up close, but intangible and blurry afar, blending in with the sky, softly. I felt like climbing one of them, to get to the top, to be blurry and soft and to blend in with heaven, to feel like heaven. 

Then I started to realize: I could only take in beauty, if I got rid of all abiding ill-emotions beforehand. Simple concept, hard to put into practice. Was I really this disconnected from myself? C., poised and calm, walked through the villa gardens with no worry, seemed at peace and content. I wanted what he had. In a hidden corner of the garden, we found an arched hole, with view over the Roman Campagna, and that's when I had my moment, perhaps. It was romantic because life does that to you, it gives you chances, it gives you stuff to work with. There they were again, the mountains all blurry, and I started to feel empty no more. "This is beautiful!" I said. C. nodded, then ran to chase some of the stray cats through the garden.
I stood there for a while. Once that I had captured all the beauty, I immediately figured out a way to compress it and also how to filter out the best parts to keep. What a system, I thought. How come this never came to my mind before? -- The train ride home was full of energy. I had started to process this day in a way I never experienced anything before in my entire life. There was regret, for a moment; perhaps I had lived my life the wrong way until now. Never had I just sat there, really just sat there, and closed my eyes to listen to the sounds of a waterfall in the afternoon sun. 

We made amazing memories. 



(All photos taken in Tivoli, Italy)

1 comment: