but of course they were too long for Twitter, not quite Haiku
- Two men sit down next to me at lunch. The older one clearly head over heels in crush if not love. But he is uncertain of the relationship. Being older, he takes charge and orders safely "The Minestrone," then pauses to defer. The younger one, in love for perhaps the first time, gets a hint of his own power.
- At the next table, the son is awkward, putting up with a parental visit. The father fussy, the mother enthusiastic. The father leaves, putting too much money on the table, insisting on a big tip. The waiter brings change. The son pockets it. The mother says "Take it, I won't tell. Your father is just being stubborn."
- While I linger, teenage boys rush in, prowling for a table. When told they have to wait, they leave, still hungry but full of bravado and angst.
- The Russian next to me has a really obnoxious cell phone ring that goes off at least six times during the course of lunch. He leans back with the air of someone used to power. But this is Cinque Terre, so he has none, therefore his service is slow, his meal is mediocre. The waiter takes pleasure in watching his impatience.
- I pass a hauntingly sad thin blonde man on the path, leaning pensively over the railing at the rocks below. Perhaps looking for a quicker way down? Several minutes later, I hear a long loud cry and wonder if he jumped.
- After a mile of saying to myself “Just don’t look down, don’t look down. Put one foot in front of the other,” I cling to the warm comfort of a sundrenched wall. Allowing myself a peek over the precipice. It is a very very long way down. But the tiny smudge on the horizon is Monterosso where I started. I am encouraged and emboldened.
- I think I am hallucinating. There is suddenly saxophone music everywhere. Alluring notes that sound like they are coming out of the grapevines, out of the cliffs, from a little café with a boat sticking out of it. After 20 minutes of hiking, I find the source. A man who has studied the echoes in this particular hillside and created the first organic surround sound.
- 14.It is the final descent into Corniglia. My hip hurts, my knees ache and I’m so tired I can’t hold the camera steady. Church bells peel. I imagine myself a conquering hero.
- I follow two 20-somethings a Kiwi and an Asian American for a while trying to figure out their relationship. It is clearly new, they stop to kiss and take photos in all the right places, but he is tentative, unsure of her. She is non-committal, just in it for a lark. He is on walkabout from New Zealand, getting tired of traveling after three months. She is just starting out on her adventure. I start to write a romance novel.
- I am half way through the second path, and stumble into a glade of olive trees where there is a small seat on a stone wall while I wait for my heart to slow. Between exertion and terror, it has seldom had such a workout. But Italy works her magic, and I find peace and the power to move on.
- Hello, not Ciao is the universal greeting, offering encouragement as well as a greeting. Languages heard along the trail:
Russian, German, Polish, French, Kiwi, Aussie, Canadian -- a couple from Calgary, no less, New York Jewish American.
- My legs are shaking, I can barely stand. But I do, transfixed at the town of Manorola where they park their boats in front of stores, the way we would a car.
- The river runs through the town. After recent storms, the rushing of the river accompanies you everywhere, Which would be wonderful if you could manage to find a Toilette.
- I take advantage of the train to transcribe all my notes. After furiously tapping away on my iPad for an hour, the girl next to me on the train asks me if I am a writer. I am inordinately pleased. I blush and say yes. For the first time acknowledging that that IS who I am. Her father asks what kinds of books. I tell him mostly business books, he asks for the titles. I tell him. The girl, his daughter, works for Cone PR in Boston but I forget to give her my business card.
- An older couple sit down next to me as I sip my Prosecco. He is concerned with catching the attention of the waiter and worrying about things back home. She says, holding up her hand and then grabbing his " I can't think of anywhere on earth I'd rather be, or anyone I'd rather be with than here with you at this moment,"
I couldn't agree more.