the whole life | While the waters cover the sea …


sweet life

lähde: Ronald Steed/

October 19, 2021

sweet life –

gathered on the stone steps to see

the sun shines on the city

This moment of haiku on Piazzale Michelangelo overlooking the city of Florence in Italy, late Tuesday afternoon, October 19, 2021:

This view is as tall as the dome of the Duomo. We gathered on the stone steps with a festive crowd of mostly young people who came to watch the sunset over Florence. Everyone chatted happily in tongues, though the Irish accents nearby and the Italian humming really made my ear smile. One of three American girls coming down the stairs asks her friend as she passes, “Will you tell your parents about the tattoo?” We giggle, knowing we’d probably have to pretend we shouldn’t laugh that they are OUR daughters! I miss my youth.

Behind the city stand the hills of Tuscany; the strong atmosphere of the day blurs farther away until they merge with the haze, giving the scene a nice depth.

Below us, along the Arno River, all the buildings on the Florentine side smile in the face of the sun that fully illuminates their yellow ocher faces. The whole of Florence is one huge grain field of yellow buildings covered with earthen umber roofs. The Duomo is the main city center, surrounded by the Palazzo Vecchio tower on the left and the Basilica of Santa Croce on the right.

It promises to be a beautiful sunset. That celestial haze and the earthly colors of the city should be seen. That is why we are sitting in a joyful present, expecting something astonishing soon.

I am increasingly trying to stay in the present of things. Accept them as they happen, instead of impatiently exchanging a moment for a promised future. At my age, it seems much more satisfying to think. . . much better than worrying my poor parents about tattoos, which I never did, but I probably should have; so how do i know better ?!

The mass bell rings at 4:45 (the Duomo tower? Must be; they’re impressive), for a moment overpowering the merry tunes of the panini truck. Invitation to Mass or invitation to panini; can be a difficult choice. Neither will do at this point. I’m stuffed with pasta and pork sauce from lunch (it’s hard to carry that load up this hill later!). Eating here is such a lazy pleasure. . . we went in search of an art shop after lunch (who’s looking for writers ’shops?), and Roxanne noticed they were closed for two hours. Just enough time for a great lunch and nap! The sweet life. . . sweet life. . . .

As the gold clock arrives, emitting tones of color across the way, I feel its impact on the tones of this gathering. The sweetness of life sits all around. Mobile phone cameras record the scene and selfies, and the girls choreograph the tick dance on the terrace below us; gestures relatively new in the long history of this city. Others are more traditional; couples sit close and talk. . . one whispers in the lover’s ear. Someone opens a fizzy drink whose loud pop surprises both the owner and the crowd. A few seconds later, the top was heard on the stairs to everyone’s delight. Faces glow in the warmth of the sun, chatty friends pause for a moment as people bring in the joyful ringing of bells at the end of Mass.

We all sit happy at this moment, waiting for the sun to set this city on fire.

Pictures of Roxanne Steed

Haiku and Ronald Steed Meditation

Copyright 2021 ©



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