It is 10pm and as I sit at my computer in my cozy kitchen, the wind is howling outside. The trees are being blown so hard I wonder what the world here will look like when the storm subsides. I fear that all the daffodils and tulips that were blooming will be torn to shreds by this ferocious wind. Here inside it is warm and calm with Mozart playing. I just did a little painting while Bob slept on the sofa. It’s very peaceful in our little apartment and I feel safe and sound even with the storm raging outside my window.
Tonight we braved the weather and went out to take part in a memorial service – a high Mass actually – for Pope John Paul, who died last week. The irony of our being here in Italy, less than 2 hours drive from Rome is that since we arrived on Saturday, the day of his death, we have not seen or heard much about it. We did hear that there were something like 2 or 3 million people who had gone to Rome to be part of this week of mourning and that people were actually being turned away from the city and not being allowed in. Those of you in the states probably have seen the endless line of cars and heard all of this on your nightly news. We did not have a TV or radio to watch and have been so busy with all our settling in that we really have missed everything. So we wanted to be part of it in some way and this seemed a good way to do it.
The Cathedral of San Lorenzo was built in the 1400s with various pieces of art and architectural detail added in the 1500s and later. In fact if I am correct, there even seems to be a newish stained glass window completed in the year 2000 commemorating and celebrating the people from all over the world who visit Perugia. It was beautiful to see it with the chandeliers lit and the lights on, illuminating the elaborate ceiling and all its frescoes. I adore the colors of this church – the soft greens, pinks and gold of the marble and stone. The frescoes are faded shades of reds, greens and blues and overall the feeling is serene and peaceful. Tonight the choir and the congregation sang hymns in Italian while the organ played – filling this space with music. The church was filled to capacity with standing room only and it was quite moving to be there among so many local people and intermingled with “Stranieri” (foreigners) like us. At the beginning and again at the end there was a procession of priests and bishops from all over the region I suspect and even some out-of-towners dressed in their priestly finery, hats and all. These guys know how to put on a pageant and it’s quite impressive to witness. I haven’t been to a religious ceremony (except for weddings and funerals) recently and I must say I enjoyed myself very much. I even joined in on some of the alleluias and hymns I recognized or just hummed along.
We are expecting a few more days of rain so we will probably be spending more time indoors and in the museums. We are trying to slow ourselves down and not have to be on the go every minute. A different kind of travel for us but one we look forward to very much.
Rosemary & Bob