If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

21 May 2006

Because life's too short

...not to dance barefoot at sunset on the front lawn.

In my check-of-the-world-news over coffee this morning, I discovered sad news: A woman I never met, who blogged under the anonymity of the name "Cancerbaby," lost her battle with ovarian cancer last week. Her real name, it turns out, was Jessica. She was exactly my age.

Her blog is the story of her struggle with infertility and cancer: eloquently written, irreverent and insightful, tearjerking and laugh-out-loud funny. She was sassy and savvy and smart, a "take it head on" inspiration to anyone who has ever struggled with forces they cannot control.

I spent the rest of my day strangely affected, quietly absorbing it - the death of someone I did not know but felt a little that I did, because she had opened herself up to share her life. And it reminded me why I am here, of "if not now, when?", that there is simply no predicting how long each of our journeys here really is.

Feeling trapped in the house, I left and went for an ass-kicking and head-clearing 2 hour hike into the valley. I returned and got back to the business of life here - spending an hour spraying what I'm sure is ironically somehow carcinogenic insecticide on my roses, managing to get only one ill-timed faceful when the breeze kicked up. I let myself just sit in the sunshine with an inexplicable feeling of numbness.

What am I not doing today that I should be, even if it's hard?
What has not been said that needs to be said?
What is behind the next door opening?
Do I have the courage to walk through it without knowing?
What do you do when there are more questions than answers?

And as the sunset painted the clouds, as part release and part tribute, I kicked off my shoes and danced wildly on my front lawn. (Looking like a cross between a Seinfeld episode and an Ipod commercial, truth be told.) The infinite wisdom of the Ipod provided a perfect dancebeat with a bonus-message-laden soundtrack:

If you live your whole life upon a shelf, you've got noone to blame but your own damn self. (from 'Carry On,' Pat Green)

For the broken-hearted, battle-scarred/when your dreams won't come true/it's gonna be alright ... (Cher's 'Song for the Lonely')

Life is not tried, it is merely survived if you're standing outside the fire. (Garth Brooks)

If there's logic to any of this madness, you'll find it in my eyes: be good, be kind, be truthful and be free. (from 'Be Good,' Hothouse Flowers)

Let a light shine in your window, let me see where I have been: and if that light still shines, and if fortune smiles, I will pass this way again...

When my time is up and my body lays down, when the candle fades and dims, throw my ashes into a restless wind, and I will pass this way again. (Small Potatoes)

I danced because I could.
Because not everyone can.
Because life's too short not to.

See ya next time around, Jessica. You made a difference, and you will be missed.


Anonymous Marsha said...

Beautiful photo and thoughts.

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Miz S said...

Oh man, that almost made me tear up a little bit. Isn't it amazing how many people knew about Jessica? I still can't believe that she died.

3:01 AM  
Blogger Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Thank you for sharing. I had a friend die this past year, exact same age, exact same reason. It's crazy that a woman in the prime of her life can be taken so indiscriminately.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moving piece, THXs, LB

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Summer said...

Jessica was, indeed, a remarkable soul.

And, not to transition too crassly, I must say: were that house *my* home, I'm certain I'd never leave. It is perfection.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Viaggiatore said...

Summer: thanks for stopping in. Come on by anytime and we'll do a tribute dance at sunset. No shoes required. Champagne, yes. Shoes, no.

As for the house, I'm just the lucky so-and-so who's occupying it at the moment ... so it thanks you for your compliments. It's been around for 350+ years and, IMHO, getting better with age. It must like the dancing. ;> Aaah, if these walls could talk! -V.

10:47 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home