A kitten begins dreaming at about one week old.~Sign on a local vet's office
And like the kitten, I dreamed while in Italy--the first night in our little house that was like a sanctuary. In the dream, I saw a blue door with a prominent doorknob. I lay hold of the knob. It felt large under my palm. It was heavy. I gave it a good twist and heard the hopeful click of a door opening. (Is there not a better sound, especially when you fear the disappointment of a locked portal?). I pushed the door open and stepped over the threshold, and then was awake.
Blue in dream symbolism is the color for grace. And in other ways as the trip unfolded, it seemed to symbolize the color of peace. Other times when I'd been to Italy, I felt almost constant anxiety, especially because I had such trouble understanding and speaking the language. At family gatherings my hands would sweat profusely and I felt so panicky, what little language I knew and understood would fly out of my brain. I went mute. This time, though, I kept telling myself, "Just walk through the blue door. Breathe. Be mindful of the love around you. Be kind with what words you have. Ask open-ended questions. Smile." And so this worked. It was as if a warm breeze kept blowing through my mind reminding me of truth. The Holy Spirit, no doubt.
On one of our days there in the lovely boot-shaped country, Giovanni and I visted a national park named the "Cinque Terre." Cinque is five in Italian and terre is loosely translated as "lands." The park is a group of five small towns nestled on hillsides that overlook the Mediterranean Sea. A train takes you along the route of the five towns, and there is opportunity to explore if you climb the myriad steps that weave through the the nooks and crannies of these ancient villages. And so we did in each town. On one of the climbs I encountered my own blue door. I saw it there, a wooden door, painted blue, embedded in a hillside, propped open. I stepped through and there on the other side I could see the gold, rose and coral-colored homes heaped up like precious gems--the Mediterranean a glimmering presence lining the horizon. I could hardly contain the pleasure I felt to see such beauty. I breathed in the scent of the sea, and raised my hands in gratefulness that I could experience such an obscure spot on planet earth with my beloved.
And so I would keep walking through the grace doors as the days unwound in Italy. Then I fell ill, but that is a story for another post.