As I look forward to spending more time in Italy this autumn, this story I wrote while in the Montepulciano area of Tuscany came to mind…
Italy is the land of carbs. Bread, pasta, risotto, gnocchi. Carbs for breakfast, carbs for lunch, carbs for dinner and don’t forget dessert: biscotti, cannoli. I think when I return to the States I will be on a strict diet of fruit and veggies. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. But when breakfast is bread, lunch is bread and then you have pasta for dinner, well, let’s just say, you look down at your belly and you wonder whose belly you are looking at. That’s not the one I left Cincinnati with.
Thursday, I had a croissant for breakfast along with some yogurt. For lunch, I ate some cereal cookies I bought at the supermarket. Then for dinner, bread and pasta. Thankfully, I had strawberries for dessert and loads of wine (it’s fruit, right?). So, this morning, I felt compelled to run off all those carbs. Ah, yes, the morning run. Whether at home or abroad, I do love it. And I tend to love it more when I need it. At first I see it as punishment for overindulging in all that food (carbs really) and wine. But, once out, I realize that it’s not a punishment at all. It’s exactly where I want to be.
Take this morning…
I was fortunate to be in the Tuscan countryside, just a kilometer from the hill town of Montepulciano. As the sun rose, so did I. The light out my window turned pink. I knew that I had to photograph before the run. I threw on my fleece and quickly put on my flip flops and flew out the door. The town of Montepulciano to my right was glowing orange from the rising sun. The grapevines and olive trees to my left were backlit as the sun rose. Spectacular.
But, I needed to run, desperately. My carb-filled belly was yelling at me to please do something. So, after I put the camera away, off I went.
The gravel road beneath my feet felt great. I was reminded of trail runs back in my adopted home of Colorado. I followed the road to the west, the sun warming my back. Dogs barked at me as I ran by. My legs got into a rhythm. It felt good.
As I rounded a corner, I could see the valley below me. Fog engulfed the vineyards and olive groves as houses peaked out here and there. The sky was blue above. I couldn’t help but smile. My heart felt at peace.
I kept running, wanting to see what was around the next corner: beautiful, old houses; silvery, green olive trees; bright green grapevines. As I turned around to head back I knew I would come back to this valley that evening to photograph it in the late day sun. For now, though, my carb-filled belly was happy, as was, more importantly, my heart.