We had packed our suitcases and checked out from our Bed&Breakfast. But before leaving Cortona we had one more thing to do. Frances Mayes had invited us to come and see her garden.
When Terje and I arrived, a small bus was standing outside the gate and a dozen people were walking around, with their cameras. We waited till the bus had left, then walked over to the gate. No bell. No people to be seen. I had read in one of Frances´ books that from her second floor studio she could actually hear people talking from down on the road, so I started to small talk with Terje. Which was quite easy. We were standing in fromt of a wall planted with hundreds of lavendels, at least it looked like hundreds to me, an in all the sweet blue a million butterflies were swarming. How could we not talk about the butterflies.
And quite right, Frances heard us, leaned out of her studio window, called down to us to wait and not long after she came down and opened the gate, welcoming us inside.
In the preface of Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances writes: I open the blue book. Writing about this place, our discoveries, wanderings, and daily life, also has been a pleasure. A Chinese poet many centuries ago noticed that to re-create something in words is being alive twice
And not only being alive twice Frances. By writing about it and sharing with your readers from around the world, you have added life to so many people. Life, beauty, excitement, knowledge, dreams. I am also alive twice through your books, and then, here the dream was unfolding in from of my eyes, walking in the garden of Bramasole, Terje at my side, you in front of us, together with us, pointing, showing, sharing, telling us about a plant here, an olive tree there. Life. I felt I should stop and ask Terje to pinch my arm, but it was no time for that.
Time was for looking into a little hidden reading place, for following your finger when you pointed out the path you walk down to Cortona for your morning coffee, for smelling your favourite rose, carpe diem.
The table on the terrace in front of the house. I have read so much about it, and here it was, a reality, just as I had imagine.
The area outside the kitchen, where so many dinners have taken place. The palette taken right out of your books.
Then you took us into the kitchen, where you the day before had been busy trying out new recipes for your next book, See you in the Piazza, which will come next spring, and further on into the hall, the dining room with the frescos of Lago Trasimeno, the living room with deep comfortable chairs, paintings, your little "museum". I took photos, but felt I was inside your privacy and it doesn´t feel right to share them here in the blog.
Everything has an end, or a new beginning, a new dream. Before we left I wanted a photo in front of Ed´s vespa. New dreams.
Then it was time for arrivederci.......new beginnings.
Now I look forward to read your recent book, Women in Sunlight.