We went to a performance by Mary Chapin Carpenter last night. She’s long been a favorite and her show last night was terrific.
I also credit Carpenter with a lot of my appreciation of Italy. We’d been to Italy before I heard her song “What if we went to Italy?” But after hearing the song I considered Italy in a more relaxed, contemplative way.
“What if we went to Italy
A suitcase of books and one bag a piece for the summer
I don't speak a word of Italian
Except for Campari and soda for two, how much is a Lire
Yes, a villa will do and a breeze, in Tuscany please.”
After hearing this verse (and checking to make sure there was money in the bank), I made plans for my wife and daughter and I to return to Italy for two weeks in May. We’d stay in just two places and spend some days touring and some days just wandering.
“What if we spent all of our days, improving our minds, learning new ways to be lazy
It wouldn't be too much of a strain
Relax after breakfast till lunch comes around
Can't wait for dinner, oh, I need to lie down
And refuel, out by the pool.”
Our trip was glorious not only because of all we did, but because of all we felt we experienced by not being driven to fill every moment with “enrichment.”
What if the ancients were lazy like us
Too blissed out to paint, to sketch or to sculpt
Just as relaxed as the tower of Pisa
Not ever missing that old Mona Lisa
What if we never got back on the plane
As summer turned colder and then warmer again
Losing all track of the passing of years
Till it no longer mattered how long we'd been here
What if we went to Italy
Maybe next year, just you and me for the summer
I still can't speak any Italian
But words are replaced under Siennese skies
By nothing so much as a nod, and a sigh, and a wish to be always like this
(What if we went to Italy?, by Mary Chapin Carpenter)
My thoughts, exactly.