July 23rd 2013
A friend asked me today – when was the last time that you were blown away? It pained me that I couldn’t quite remember. My smile fell. Then, glittering Istanbul and its Golden Mosaics came into view. Hagia Sofia. Of course.
But that was two years ago.
Little did I know that just a few hours after this talk, I would happen upon an experience that would leave me awestruck.
For you see – I finally dared to see It. I had been in Florence a good half-week by now but had been avoiding looking in Its direction. Stepping off from the train, I knew the moment had arrived. Although, I was dusty and exhausted after a grueling but wonderful day hiking and swimming in the Cinque Terre, I knew that this was it. I felt it first reverberate in my brain, then quiver in my heart, and thunder through my no longer tired legs as I walked towards It. Towards Him. Towards The Duomo.
I stopped at a local pizzeria, got a cappuccino and a whole pie of Margherita pizza to-go. I trekked on – the anticipation building up.
Suddenly, I made a left turn, unassuming, not knowing what lay beyond. And there it was – the white, dizzying Cathedral of Florence – contrasted perfectly by the indigo, dark hues of nightfall.
I have had this vision since high school – of being Here. It has been one of my biggest driving factors as I trudge through life. My lifeline – the cause of an inherent fire within my blood. The Duomo. And Brunelleschi’s masterpiece – its scarlet dome.
Now – I am here. My long-kept vision mixing with the current reality, the actual physicality of my being here. And it is perfect. And, it had to be experienced alone. Only I know the journey, excitement, internal reverberations leading to this point. I always envisioned being alone here. My first view, my best view, had to be experienced through the comforts of my own solitary mind.
The constant hum of the crowd fades, the electric lights morph into lanterns, the world closes about me. All that is left is Santa Maria del Fiore. And lucky, blessed me – looking up – absolutely spellbound.