This is the easy part. That's my mantra these days when it doesn't feel easy, or manageable or sometimes, even possible. Because after everything ... well, it's true. This is the easy part.
The words that tell the story of my life so far are as varied as a garden store rack of seeds. I wrote a book about the hardest parts, so I don't feel the need to tell those stories anymore. Instead, I plant the seeds that fell from all the things I planted that never bloomed. Sound strange? Here's what I mean. I planted two marriages, but the soil wasn't right. The seeds that fell as the plants withered blossomed into my children, the most glorious things that ever bloomed in my garden.
You see where I'm going?
I planted a career that paid the bills and put food on the table. It blossomed pretty well, but in time the light changed and the flowers failed to bud. But the seeds from those years fostered another career, and another, and each one left me with new strength, new confidence, new goals.
The first time I traveled to Italy I knew that I'd found a place that 'fit'. I remember coming home from that trip... around 10 years ago, and telling everyone I would live in Italy one day. I'm not sure anyone thought I was serious, but it didn't matter. I started planting seeds for what would bloom into the life I dreamed of.
And then I watered them.
In the beginning, all I had was the place. I knew that I wanted to live near water, trees, mountains and somewhere I could get by without a car. On our second trip to Italy, we stopped for a few rainy days in Como. I honestly only have one strong memory and that was taking the ferry in the rain to Villa Carlotta to see the amazing sculptures there. But the seeds were taking root, and I knew I'd found my place. I started researching the process for becoming a citizen, and a resident in Italy and gathering documents. When it simply became impossible because I was then living in London, I hired an immigration specialist. I have a direct bloodline to Italy, so I thought it wouldn't be so hard.
It took four years to complete the process.
The rest of the story is old news. We managed my daughter's Como wedding in September of 2019, never dreaming how the world would change in just a few months. I threw a tarp over those baby dream plants and kept the faith. And then in August, I managed to get on a plane in the two weeks before Delta closed the borders to non essential travel again.
When I got here everything was a little bit harder, a little bit slower, a little bit stranger than I had imagined. But I found an apartment and my seeds were starting to bud. The moving of my things from Milan to this little village seemed a little bit impossible, but two good humoured, very strong and determined movers managed to get everything up the road and into the flat and a good friend spent the day reassuring me it would all be ok.
The dream was here. Everything was happening. The flowers would bloom.
And suddenly the overwhelm of being alone with all the bits and pieces of 66 years of living threatened to bury me. The boxes, the plastic, the missing screws for almost every piece of furniture that needed to be reassembled, those boxes... did I mention how much cardboard goes into this kind of move? And then has to be disposed of. I won't lie, on the day I moved the last two suitcases out of the airbnb and into the new apartment, and saw those four washing machine sized boxes of cardboard waiting for me to somehow get them down the hill for the trash pickup, the tears started to come. It seemed like there was no way I could manage all of this by myself. But I knew I had to keep going.
I wiped my eyes, took a deep breath and changed my clothes, and my mindset.
I put my hands on my hips and said out loud to no one in particular, the thing that I had just realised, even though at least two weeks of non stop unpacking, arranging, rearranging, and cleanup lay. ahead....
"This is the easy part".
Turns out that was all my garden was missing. Perspective. Faith. And the same determination it took to get me to now. I'm sharing this because if you are where I was ten. years ago, or even last week... if you are facing a garden full of blooms that are struggling, or even a hallway full of things you must let go of... maybe this will help. I'm sure you have navigated harder things. Felt deeper pain. But you're here, and you have a garden to tend. This really is the easiest part.