An Italian Journey: Writing And Healing

September arrived and with it, any thoughts of writing vanished.   My birthday; a long-awaited holiday.  Both beckoned.   But somewhere in the space between early spring and autumn’s first flush, everything blurred into one big smudge of I can’t face it.

We heal, eventually, from family illness and loss, but scars do not disappear. And something, at some point, has to give, even if only for a short while.  My long-burn writing dream never died, but in the deep, silent part of me, my ability to focus, to write, lay in tatters.

So I retreated into long walks by the sea and drinking wine in my garden, listening to the birds singing their sweet September song.  I offered up my writing, like a bird held gently in both hands, and I let it go and watched it fly away.

And then, with gentle persuasion, I took Hubby’s hand and I flew away too, on our long-awaited holiday to Lake Garda in Italy.

lake-garda-sept-2016-116

Stunning views of the Alps, lakes and the Black Forest as we flew above France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria on this beautiful, blue sky day. The Stewardess knew something, as she returned with not one, but three gin and tonics – each! – with a knowing wink. It wasn’t just the hum of the plane’s engine that was buzzing… (c) Sherri Matthews 2016

From Verona airport, we travelled on for not quite two hours to the north-western shore of the Lake, where, against the backdrop of the Italian Alps,  sits the exquisite and historic village of Limone.

The name Limone is Italian for ‘lemon’, and lemons and other citrus fruits once grew in abundance in the now ancient lemon groves, dating back to the 14th century.  The terraced columns of the Limonaia del Castèl are still clearly visible.

lake-garda-sept-2016-68-editedDuring the summer, they are opened up by candlelight for visitors to tour, with lemon trees still grown, albeit in smaller quantities.

lemon-groves-1 But ‘Limone’ is also the Latin word for ‘boundary’. Lake Garda is made up of three regions; Limone is part of the Brescia province, in the Lombardy region.

Limone also, quite possibly, holds the secret to long life: In the 1970s, during a routine medical check-up, a man was discovered to have high levels of cholesterol but without any of the expected damage.  Doctors went on to discover that this man, members of his family and a small community in Limone, all carried a type of protein that keeps cardiovascular disease at  bay.  Hopes continue that this protein can be replicated for the general population, but so far, we wait.

The view from our balcony was truly spectacular.
To the right ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-284

lake-garda-sept-2016-286 lake-garda-sept-2016-288And to the left ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-141The ever-changing skyline transformed the mountains as a work of art ~

limone-mountain-views-4limone-mountain-views-2limone-mountain-views-5The walk down to the lakeside took us down narrow – and steep! – cobbled streets ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-198 lake-garda-sept-2016-131 lake-garda-sept-2016-77 lake-garda-sept-2016-419Past houses bursting with blossoming bougainvillea ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-76 lake-garda-sept-2016-85 lake-garda-sept-2016-412 And shops filled to the brim with every good thing ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-211lake-garda-sept-2016-192 lake-garda-sept-2016-193lake-garda-sept-2016-126lake-garda-sept-2016-195 lake-garda-sept-2016-417lake-garda-sept-2016-196 lake-garda-sept-2016-194lake-garda-sept-2016-210For a quiet place to sit, there is no lack of cafes, bars and restaurants ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-422And then we found the harbour ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-89limone-harbour-5 We walked along the beach ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-203 lake-garda-sept-2016-326 lake-garda-sept-2016-327 Places to dine, take in the view, relax, pop up everywhere in Limone ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-294And swans enjoy the lake too ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-100But even as lost as I was in all this beauty and tranquility, it wasn’t until we visited Malcesine across the water, only a twenty-minute boat ride way, that I found true magic.

The beaches and streets and harbour of Malcesine were just as gorgeous `
as those of Limone ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-178lake-garda-sept-2016-96limone-harbour-3-edited-2lake-garda-sept-2016-165But it was while walking around The Scaliger Castle that I felt a familiar stir, like a breeze, in that deep, silent place where my writing lay in tatters.

Not just the stunning vistas, but a glorious history ~

streets-of-malcesine-2 streets-of-malcesine-10 streets-of-malcesine-13The 13th century castle has been extended over centuries, owned by The Scaliger Dukes of Verona and later by the Austrians in the 19th Century.

As I climbed higher, the view became ever more breathtaking ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-36 lake-garda-sept-2016-2 lake-garda-sept-2016-19 lake-garda-sept-2016-21lake-garda-sept-2016-22lake-garda-sept-2016-35lake-garda-sept-2016-26 I reached the bell at the very top ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-34And then, as I walked through the castle, I read this, quoted from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, considered to be the greatest German literary figure of the modern era:

How I wish  my friends could be with me for a moment to enjoy the view which lies before me.‘  J W Goethe, from Torbole, 12th September, 1796.

I felt just the same way ~

lake-garda-sept-2016-102-editedWritings and sketches by Goethe filled the castle and I realised, to my thrill, that I was walking in his footsteps, for he had once visited this very castle during his ‘Italian Journey‘ in 1786. Forced by strong winds to take harbour at Malcesine, he wandered up to the ruins of the castle for some peace and quite, but someone crept up on him and stole some of his work.

It caused an outcry as Goethe was suspected of being a spy, but his ‘gentlemanly appearance and his power of oration’ won the day.    From then on, thanks to the high regard for Goethe and his visit, albeit an unplanned one, Malcesine became the tourist haven that it is today.

Reading about Goethe’s Italian Journey inspired me more deeply than I at first realised.  Stopping for a light lunch, we found a quiet place just off from the harbour ~

streets-of-malcesine-17-editedThere, I found a moment of rare and sublime contentment.  Enjoying a bowl of homemade minestrone soup and a glass of Prosecco, languishing in September’s Mediterranean warmth, I could not take my eyes off the green shutters facing me.

At the table in front of them, a family of three adults finished lunch and for a little while, nobody sat there.A man played a violin over by the harbour and two small children laughed as they chased one another down by the water, but through the world passing by, words tumbled out of the deep, dark place where they had slept inside me, undisturbed, for so long.

One would need a thousand styluses to write with. What can one do here, with a single pen?  And then, in the evening, one feels exhausted after so much looking and admiring.’  J W Goethe, 5th November, 1786.

And then, at the empty table, sat my dad.  Not a ghost, not a vision.  He was just there, smiling, telling me to enjoy my life, to laugh and love and to LIVE it.

That evening, back in my hotel room, I took out my single pen and notebook, unused for too long, and my writing returned.   I wrote ‘Green Shutters’, and I found the flow of my memoir, inspired when I least expected it by my own Italian journey.

lake-garda-sept-2016-329And I’ll say Buon Appetito to that.

lake-garda-sept-2016-200

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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154 Responses to An Italian Journey: Writing And Healing

  1. An inspiring piece. The words and the photos.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Steve Rebus says:

    Sherri….Wow!!! Amazing photos!! 😀

    Thank you for sharing more of your life, and for taking me along to this glorious place!

    God bless you Sherri. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sherri says:

      Always wonderful to share my travels with you…thank you so much Steve, wow – high praise indeed! Lake Garda truly is a glorious place, I hope you and Sarah can go oneday. I will do a post about our days out to the Dolomites and Venice later 🙂 God bless you too my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Andy Oldham says:

    Beautiful. I’ve always wanted to visit there! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. MarinaSofia says:

    Just sooo gorgeous!Thank you for sharing and glad it had such a calming, inspiring effect on you!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Heyjude says:

    There is nothing quite like a being beside the water with a mountain view. Probably why I love Cape Town and Vancouver and Geneva and Bled. There is just something awe inspiring about those views. Glad the holiday soothed your troubled soul Sherri and I hope that now you are ready for a fresh start. It is never easy to lose a parent, but eventually the sorrow is replaced by those good memories that make us smile. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      I agree Jude! I’ve been to Vancouver and yes, you’re right, it has that same kind of beauty doesn’t it? (Would love to go to Cape Town as you know!). Hubby and I haven’t done a lake holiday before, it was truly wonderful and the perfect time to go as it turned out, despite my meltdown a couple of days before! Thank you so much my friend for your kind words. Writing those words down in our hotel room turned the corner for me (and the feeling of comfort about my dad stays with me…) and since then, I’ve returned to my memoir with gusto. Of course now my usual problem is getting the time with Christmas fast approaching…but that’s a different story altogether 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yowza! Each photograph was more stunning than the last, Sherri. Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us…I feel like I was there with you. xo

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sherri says:

      Awww…thank you so much JBean! A lot of pics I know, but you should see how many I took! Sorting out which ones to share was the longest part of this post! I loved having you there with me 🙂 xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved every word of this and the beautiful photos as well. I wish my traveling days were not finished as that would be such a lovely place to visit. I have great fondness for good Limoncello any day of the week. I am so delighted to hear you are feeling restored somewhat. It’s such a long process and will never be done but you have made great strides. Those views would take my breath away. Good to see you again. Goethe is well known to us Germans. 🙂 Good to see some of his influence in Italy as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the journey Marlene, thank you so much for sharing it with me! Oh you and me both, I adore Limoncello…and they sell it everywhere as you can imagine! I had a glass of Limoncello mixed with Prosecco once or twice on holiday…strong, but divine 😉 As I walked around the castle, already stunned by such fantastic views and lapping up the incredible history, with every word of the great Goethe I read, the more inspired I became. I need to read his ‘Italian Journey’! I left Lake Garda a different person, I can see that even more clearly since writing and sharing this post. Bless you my friend…your kind encouragement blesses me greatly… 🙂 xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. esthernewton says:

    What stunning photos, Sherri. It was so god to read about your very well-deserved trip 🙂 xx

    Liked by 2 people

  9. TanGental says:

    There you go a perfect result to writers blok!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Lynn says:

    One could not help but feel inspired in such a beautiful place! Although I have visited Italy twice, I have yet to get to the northern part. Friends of ours recently returned from a vacation in this area & between their description & yours, I feeling it is time to visit this beautiful country one more time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Lynn, it sounds to me as if someone, somewhere, is telling you must go! I have been to Sorrento and Naples and but not this far north before – we were only 2 hours by road away from Innsbruck in Austria! I will post about our day trips to the Dolomites and Venice later, but I needed to share this post first and I’m thrilled you enjoyed it. As you say, how can anyone not be inspired in such beauty…it is truly awe inspiring. Thank you so much Lynn 🙂 xoxo

      Like

  11. Wow. So beautiful. The words and the photos. I’m glad your trip was able to uplift your soul. Miss you…:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ah! I’m so happy! ❤ The restaurant "scene", your dad, you…picking up your pen, finding the flow of your memoir… Happy days! And this: "through the world passing by, words tumbled out of the deep, dark place where they had slept inside me, undisturbed, for so long." Beautiful. So much love.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Northern Italy ❤ Such a beautiful and soul filled part of the world – no wonder you experienced a miraculous reawakening there. And I wonder how you were able to leave it at all for I am quite sure that should I ever find myself in that part of the world again it wold be to never leave! Your photos are breathtaking and I spent time poring over them Sherri, often reminded of my own time spent in that part of the world so long ago. And then you tossed in a bit of Goethe too my dear, one of my favourite poets and writers – it seems there is nothing but pearls of wisdom that dropped from his pen, however he chose to wield it. Isn't it wonderful how, when we least expect it, but usually when our hearts have been ripped to shreds and our souls lay exposed to the elements, we can finally receive the message we must hear to pick up the pieces once more. Green shutters or Titian's Mater Dolorosa – either will do it!! 🙂 Welcome back!! xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      ‘…but usually when our hearts have been ripped to shreds and our souls lay exposed to the elements, we can finally receive the message we must hear to pick up the pieces once more.’ Oh Pauline, you bring a tear to my eye with your beautiful and emotive comment…I am absolutely thrilled to share my ‘Italian Journey’ with you my friend, all the more so now knowing that you have travelled there and love it so. I don’t know how I left either, truth be told! In fact, looking at all the photos again, I want to go back…! And Goethe’s ‘pearls of wisdom’ completed this feast for the senses. Although I do write about Dad in my memoir, I have always thought about writing a seperate book about him, my life with him, but writing Green Shutters turned this into something I am now compelled to write, although of course, far from any Titian masterpiece whether painted or written! But as you say, when our muse takes hold, we need to run with it…as we pick up those pieces. Thank you so much dear Pauline for sharing your heart with me… ❤ xoxo

      Like

  14. Christy B says:

    It sounds like this getaway was exactly what you needed ❤ Those views are incredible!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh dear Christy, it really was. Yet it took so much to get there…Magnificent those views…looking at them again makes me want to return! Thank you so much for sharing the view with me my friend 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Dearest Sherri, that holiday looks and sounds so perfect. Just what you needed and deserved after everything you’ve been through this year. Such beautiful, peaceful scenery, without too many people: great medicine, indeed! Just wanted to say, wearing my allotmenteer’s hat, that the quality of the fruit and vegetables on sale in Italy put our British produce to shame. I guess that all the sunshine happening at the right time helps. I’m so glad that you’re back to writing your memoir again. Thinking of you. Love and hugs, Sarah xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely, kind message dearest Sarah. And may I say you look very fetching in your allotmenteer’s hat 🙂 You can tell how amazed I was just by all the photos I took – and these are just a tenth of what I actually took! How wonderful it would be to pop out and buy such divine fresh veg and fruit daily. The temps at Lake Garda make for wondefully successful crops of all we would expect – citrus fruits, olives and grapes, but also as you go further north, apples! Something about the way the mountains protect from the cold in winter (although it never gets below 10c) and trapping all that glorious sunshine makes for perfect Golden Delicious, exported to us Brits, so we were told 🙂 As for those tomatoes…I grew them in California and they looked like that. Sunshine is the key! Love & hugs to you too my friend 🙂 xxxxx

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Mary Smith says:

    What a wonderful post! Thank you so much. I know what it’s like when the writing disappears – reading this made me feel it might come back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Mary, thank you so much, and I’m so glad it helped you. I didn’t want to let my writing go, but after I lost my dad I sort of crumpled without realising it. I couldn’t focus and the words disappeared. Maybe sometimes they need to, I don’t know…but I do know it is glorious when they return…as will yours… xxx

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mary Smith says:

        For me, it was also my dad’s death. He’d had dementia and I moved in with him when his wife left. I thought when he died I would get my life back very soon but it didn’t happen as I expected. I think we try to rush the mourning period – there’s an expectation that we should ‘get over it’ after a certain period of time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          I am so sorry for the loss of your dad Mary, such a difficult time that must have been for you… We don’t deal with grief well in our society, I agree. ‘Getting over it’ and ‘Moving on’ are phrases we use far too freely. It is normal and healthy to allow the grieving process to work its way through in its own time, in its own way, and it’s so important for us all to understand that…

          Liked by 1 person

  17. Sunni Morris says:

    What beautiful pictures and quotes. How lucky you are to be able to visit such a place. I know the whole thing was inspiring.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      I feel very blessed to have visited such an incredibly beautiful place Sunni. It was for our tenth wedding anniversary, which was in March, but was booked before Mum’s stroke and Dad’s death. By the time we were due to go, I went into a meltdown…and then, the healing began, in that hotel room in Limone 🙂 Sharing it here brings me so much joy. Thank you so much my friend for joining me… ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh Sherri, I’m so happy for you!! Serenity, and peace flows out of these photos!
    Welcome to the writing again!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. jennypellett says:

    Oh Sherri, what a wonderful place to go and regenerate your soul! Whenever I’ve been to Italy I feel as if I’ve walked into a film set – it’s unreal. Your photos are stunning.
    A very poignant post too, my dear, and a vivid reminder that even if our loved ones are departed, they are still very much with us. There are reasons everyday to think of my Dad…what would he think, how would he respond to something…seeing something that would make him laugh. Our relationship alters when they’re not there physically but they are still there, guiding us through.
    Good luck with the writing. We need these peaks and troughs xoxo

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sherri says:

      It took me a while to get this post up, but I got there at last! Oh I know just what you mean about walking into a film set Jenny, it really is incredible. We weren’t sure what to expect, only knowing it would be lovely, but this was breathtaking, over and beyond. I’ll do a post later about our trips to the Dolomites and Venice too. But just ‘pottering’ around Limone and Malcesine was perfect enough. Ahh dear Jenny, I understand completely about knowing our dads are still guiding us, yet that sharp missing when we think of them in such ways… Thank you so much for your writing encouragement and for walking with me, as always 🙂 xoxo

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Its been too long since we walked and I enjoyed this walk with your immensely. Your words and photos brought the place to life and I’m glad that it had that effect on your also. I’m so pleased to hear that your desire to write has returned and the words are flowing. When the time is right….. glad your Dad let you know to laugh be happy, love and live. This place will have special memories your Dad and walking in Goethes footsteps.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Sue says:

    Oh, what a wonderful, healing trip you had, Sherri…..and so pleased your muse has returned. I thoroughly enjoyed wandering the streets of Limone and Malcesine through your splendid images!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Jools says:

    Truly breathtaking photos, and your account is beautiful too.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Norah says:

    What a gorgeous post with vivid pictures and emotions created by words, accompanied by stunning photographs. I have never been to Italy. I have missed out. But now I have seen something of it through the lens of your camera. When you released your writing to the air, as you would a bird, I knew it would fly back to you. I heard it rustling in your words as you walked the streets. Funny how it summoned up your Dad to let you know it was okay to write again, as if it knew his permission was required. How wonderful for those green shutters to be the stimulus. Thank you for taking me on this journey with you. It was wonderful to share your experiences. I’m pleased your writing flew back to you. May the words flow as the thoughts fly and the love is etched into the words on the page.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Wow Norah, you astound me with your insight because one of the things my dad said to me a few years ago was that he was an ‘open book’ to me when I told him I wanted to write about him and he gave me the one gift he could – his unconditional blessing. And he also told me how thrilled he was, telling me it made him feel that he was an important part of my life. I was knocked back when he told me that. I was visiting him in prison at the time and I’ll be eternally grateful for that conversation, that he knew how much I loved him as I knew how much he loved me. So yes, without realising it, and I can see it even more clearly now, it really was as if I needed his permission all over again, not only to write but to live life for all its worth. His wish for me, I know it 🙂 I love this: ‘I heard it rustling in your words as you walked the streets.’ What a beautiful sentence. Thank you so much for sharing the view and the journey with me, dear Norah, you’ve touched my heart my friend … ❤ xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  24. restlessjo says:

    You’ll never lose the gift of writing, Sherri. It’s in your soul. I so enjoyed this wander down Memory Lane (for me 🙂 ) with you. So nice to think of us walking those same steps, and then of Goethe writing those lines on my birthday but so long before I was conceived. And yes, I could see your Dad, sitting there and nodding his approval. Mine would have done just the same. 🙂 So much can happen in a year, darlin’, but life is still rich and you have so much more joy to come.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      How wonderful to walk down Memory Lane with you dear Jo…but I’m so cross with myself – why didn’t I link this to your Monday Walks? Still not all there… But oh for that joy…we look to that don’t we, as our dad’s would want us to. Thank you for your lovely comment lovely friend…I’ve loved sharing the sunshine with you today, from the Algarve to Lake Garda and back again 🙂 ❤ xxx

      Like

      • restlessjo says:

        It doesn’t need a link for me to share it, Sherri, but I hesitated because it’s very personal. Hugs, sweetheart 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Ahh…I do like to give a link though to give credit to you and lead readers to your beautiful blog. But if you do want to share it, then I am fine with it, even though it isn’t a ‘walk’ per se. I am finding that Dad appears in everything I write at the moment, even if just for a few words. I’ll leave it up to your discretion Jo…and thank you so much for keeping an eye on me over here despite my long disappearances. I really appreciate it…and of course, I can never get enough of those hugs. Hugging back lovely lady! 🙂 ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  25. Annecdotist says:

    Ha, when life throws you lemons head to Limone! it looks wonderful and good to take the time to heal.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Oh Sherri, you have such a wonderful way with words! I am so glad that you and the hubby were able to enjoy a holiday in Italy. Lake Garda looks absolutely lovely. I’m in love with all the narrow streets and cobblestone paths. How wonderful to enjoy some time by the water, I always feel calm and peaceful by the water—it must be the Pisces in me! And seeing your dad, who told you to love and enjoy life?! It sounds to me as though this was exactly what your soul needed and he must have known this. I am so happy that your memoir writing has found its flow again. Life does seem to be all about ebb and flow doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…dear Heather…so you are a Pisces? Same as hubby! I am a Virgo, that’s why we get on so well!! Being by the water is the most relaxing thing I can think of, whether by the sea or lake or river, and Lake Garda is a world of its own. The temperatures were just right, in the 70s, never too hot, and stayed warm into the evening, but always that gentle breeze. It did rain a couple of days, but again, it wasn’t cold. We got soaked one day, I’ll write about that in another post when I share about a couple of excursions we took! But this was the post I had to write first, I love sharing the walk along those beautiful cobblestone streets with you 🙂 And of course, sharing that brief moment with my dad, but one that will always comfort me, that ebb and flow a constant as you say! Thank you so much for your lovely comment my friend 🙂 ❤

      Like

  27. Sherri, how wonderful to travel back to Italy again. Thank you for taking me with you. So serene, and at once internal and expansive. Someone we must step entirely outside ourselves, our lives, our “normal” in order to find our inspiration again. Glad your dad was with you on the trip and let you he was there, encouraging you along the way. Another lovely chapter on the journey, my friend. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you, dear Susan, so much, for joining me…I loved walking with you in this beautiful and tranquil place. It did indeed turn out to be the perfect respite and I am thrilled to share this ‘chapter of the journey’ with you, my friend 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Sherri, this lovely post is a tribute to healing and hope, and it’s also an inspiration to those of us savoring your words. The triumph is in the parallel: releasing your writing like a bird, then spreading your wings and soaring to new colors, tastes, sounds, feelings and dreams. The writing wings return to you and encourage us all. Wonderful pictures. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much dear Marylin, I am so glad that you read healing and hope and encouragement here, through word and photograph, as that is the message I want to convey, and to share it all with you, all who so kindly read, all helping the healing process in full flight 🙂 ❤

      Like

  29. dgkaye says:

    Oh Wowwwwww Sher, what a most beautifully written post and the photos were literally breathtaking!!! Absolutely stunning. I’m with Goethe, definitely a place to be with friends! Wish I was there. Italy is one of my favorite countries in the world. There’s just something too special about it, be it the scenery, food, music and people. What a gift you shared with your hubby! Truly a vision to heal the soul. And thanks for sharing the beauty with us my sweet friend! xoxoxo ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Charli Mills says:

    Your photos are stunning, but it’s the power of your words that transfer me to this special place. You soaked up the essence of Limone’s history, beauty and inspiration. Your writing is always with you: some days you are filling up and others you are outflowing. I love your writing, Sherri! Maybe we need to fly out to Limone and discuss it over a glass of Prosecco.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, dear Charli, you understand that filling up and that outflowing perfectly – a vital part of our writing process, even when we have to let it go, even when it kills us to do so, yet it is the right thing to do sometimes. And when that flow returns…we know exactly why it was right. Allowing that time to let grief and exhaustion work its way through is so important. Thank you so much for your wonderful – and so encouraging! – comment my friend…and what better place to continue this discussion than in Limone over a glass – heck, a bottle! – of Prosecco. I know just the place 😉 ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Annika Perry says:

    A stunning post, Sherri, that takes us from a travelogue about beautiful Limone to the journey within oneself to the otherworldly. The photos are amazing and the scenery is not at all what I would have expected with the mountains so high to the lake edge, the village nestled like a Tv advert in a granite and tree embrace. I would love to roam those cobbled streets, trying out the various cafe – thank you for letting us tag along. As a fan of Goethe, whom I studied at university, I am particularly taken with your information about his trip here and the touching quotes from him – oh, he could write! I’m off to re-read this and soak in the atmosphere again. Hugs 😀❤️ Xx. PS. Happy Birthday to your middle son for this weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment dear Annika, I loved having you along! Now I know you are a fan of Goethe, you can fully appreciate exactly how I felt when I discovered that I was walking in his very footsteps, reading his words from his ‘Italian Journey’ and the inspiration growing in me so much that I longed to find him and give him a huge hug and thank him from the bottom of my heart! I didn’t know what to expect either, so the exploration was in itself a wonder to behold. And looking at these photos again, I wish we were back there now! I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos I will do another post about our trip to the Dolomites and Venice later, but I needed to get this one out of my system first…sharing it here is both humbling and healing because, as Goethe himself said so eloquently, sharing it all with friends makes it so much the sweeter! 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Wow! Why don’t they have a LOVE button in addition of LIKE? I love everything in your post. The words as much as the photos. What a lovely trip? I haven’t returned to Italy since I moved to the US but used to vacation there. Your post brought back so many memories. So glad to read that your found your inspiration back as you were there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh thank you so very much dear Evelyne! Wow…I’m thrilled you enjoyed this post so much, and to know also that it reminded you of many happy memories of your vacations in Italy. It’s great to share our stories isn’t it, the ups and downs, the struggles and victories and the beauty of such places? Have a wonderful weekend my friend 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Pat says:

    This is so beautiful, Sherri, and tender. Your journey is truly special and blessed and what better way to travel than with your husband and, now, your Dad’s presence. I can feel the grip of your grief loosening and a light shining through the crack. It’s an awakening to a new place and it seems like you’ve reached the shores of a new place, only now to be discovered and lived.

    Your photos take me again to a place I’d love to see and I can feel the energies of lives present and those who have passed on. It reminds me of a fellow blogger you may know of, Susan Nelson, in her posts of Italy and photos. I love it. Her site is called “Timeless Italy” at http://timelessitaly.wordpress.com, if you’re haven’t seen it.

    I’m enjoying this journey of yours and where it’s taking you. It warms my heart and inspires me, too. Thank you for sharing, Sherri. Love you and know you’re being shone many things and loved beyond measure in this tender time. Hugs xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Dear Pat, I had to read your beautiful sentiments a few times to take in the measure of all you share. This particularly struck me ‘ you have…reached the shores of a new place, only now to be discovered and lived…’ As I take a deep breath and think of all that’s happened this year and the way its affected me and my writing, my entire ‘self’, I do really believe that you share great wisdom in your words. I feel exactly as you describe, as if I have reached a new shore, since that brief ‘moment’ with my dad, in Italy, by the shores of Lake Garda. I am so glad that we can inspire and encourage one another as we journey on, and I am very thankful for your enduring friendship through it all. I never take for granted when you, or a a single person reads anything I write. Bless you my dear friend, love and hugs right back to you and again, thank you so much for your beautiful message… ❤ xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pat says:

        You’re truly welcome, Sherri. It means a lot that what I share helps and inspires you maybe in some small way. I do feel a major shift for you and can see it in your writing.

        Keep listening to that small voice within. It will take you far beyond you’ve ever dreamed. Hugs and love to you, my friend. Take care until we talk again. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  34. Oh such a rich history you shared of a beautiful place, dare I say, a timeless place. Your written words once again take us, the reader, on a amazing journey! The photos were stunning. How Goethe’s words resonate with my spirit too. I am so glad you had a respite from so many cares, so needed. And to feel your Dad there, sweet indeed. I am so grateful I got to tag along. Thank you Sherri. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much my dearest friend, for believing in me, for having my back, for sharing in this many-years-in-the-making journey, one we’ve shared for so long and continue to do so, always will. You didn’t just tag along – you were right there, ARE right there… 🙂 Much love to you, bless you, dearest Diane… ❤ ❤ ❤

      Like

  35. A simply gorgeous post, Sherri. What beautiful words inspired by a beautiful place you visited. I felt as if I was actually reading a snippet from your memoirs. You have to include this post in it. It has everything about life and how it affects us.
    The candlelit lemon grove sounds divine. It must have been a wonderful walk through it. There’s something about candlelight that brings peace to us. And those green shutters and the empty table which was soon filled by your dad. What a wonderful experience and how it came at the perfect time to you. And his words. So very happy that you listened to what he said to you. I can sense how you are now moving forward. So very happy for you.
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Hugh! Oh, it is always so lovely to read your words and goodness, I had to read them here several times to take in all you’ve shared with me. Something has changed within me since losing my dad, a sense of things moving forward, yet, as a memoir writer, I have to look back and write about the past. But…it reinforces what I’ve believed all along: writing memoir brings the past to life to help make sense of the present and give hope for the future. And therein lies the true sense of ‘ownership’ of the story, of the truth, and of all that makes up the lives that we lead. We all have a story waiting for that right time for release into the world – whether memoir or fiction! As you well know, my friend!
      You would have loved that candelight lemon grove Hugh, as well as the delightful cobblestone streets leading up to it, all by candlight. You’re right, it is so very peaceful. I’m honoured to share all this with you, and thank you so much for your lovely, moving comment… ❤ xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • My absolute pleasure, Sherri. I think we both share a passion for the past. I often think back, and the tiniest of things (like seeing some coloured Christmas lights) can instantly bring whole scenes of the past back to me, even right down to what was said and what people were wearing. I think it especially happens at this time of the year, but even in the summer, I can have flashbacks that bring back memories of family summer holidays which have not appeared before. I’m looking forward to reading your memoirs. Maybe it’s something I should think about writing one day?
        xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          I can tell when I read your posts about Christmas Hugh how much you adore it…we do indeed share the same passion for the past! With your excellent recall of events, scenes, dialogue, settings as you describe, I think you have a wonderful memoir in you just waiting to be written. When the time is right…and you will know when it is. I find when I write certain scenes, I’m right back there, a flashback will remind me of something I thought quite small at first, but then realise how significant it really was. The key is deciding which to keep and which not, how it flows within the specific story being told (in my case, one that takes place over the course of three years, not my whole life, but there are relevant events from before and after that are weaved through the main ‘hub’ of the story). Oh I could talk to you all day about writing, summer holidays and Christmas! Thank you again Hugh for taking the time to leave such wonderful comments and read my posts when I know how much you have going on right now…such as your debut novel publication and book faire coming up!! Huge hugs of appreciation and friendship for all this and more…and once again, many, many congratulations to you on a fantastic achievement! 🙂 xxx

          Liked by 1 person

  36. This is absolutely lovely Sherri, the views are stunning – a cornucopia of gorgeous images. I can well understand those thoughts of not wanting to face things and of the words disappearing, but you obviously did the right thing in letting them go, to wait for the perfect moment to be rekindled.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : A crisp day at Stockton Riverside | restlessjo

  38. prior.. says:

    Really really enjoyed this
    Had a tear by the way u eased us into the green shutter and pen!
    Wonderfully written and I was there on the patio with u mon amie
    Well I wish !
    But your writing allowed us to feel that entire moment with the violin and kids etc
    Whew
    Well we call this stuff “spooky cool” (or god appointments)

    And before I got to the green shutters I was already quite delighted and planned on letting u know what a gift the photos were because it was like a mini trip for me – and the rich navy blue in one of the ending photos is one of my favorite ultramarine navy dark blues – whew – i used to make that color when I painted a lot of oils in 2012 – had a little season with texture that time too!
    😊✌🏼️🌸

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh how I wish too mon amie! Paris? Lake Garda? Oh if only…but we have our photographs and I am thrilled to share them with you and it brings me so much joy knowing how much enjoyed this walk, sharing in ‘the moment’ with me and so humbled to share my heart. I am moved by your beautiful comment Yvette, thank you so much. And I also adore that ‘ultramarine navy dark blue’… the kind that also reminds me so much of my life in California. I also love your eye for pulling out colours, textures, flow, strokes of the brush, in writing and in art. That is the heart of you! I would love to see some of your oil art from that time…Loving your emojies too…the flower is so sweet…you make my heart smile mon amie! 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • prior.. says:

        oh well you make my heart sing at times mon amie – and this was one of them.
        and would you beleive I have not really done any art this year at all. A needed break – but it might be time – well i did mini art stuff for the psych students (samples) and guided my niece in June – and then for my other niece last month – we did the easiest project I could muster up because she was not in the mood – and I knew her mum sorta wanted us to do something artsy in our time – so guess what we did?
        a wet on wet with sharpies.
        it is the easiest and best way to loop in someone who feels not in the mood.
        you take a sharpie and draw anything you want – a seascape, mountain scene, words with a design, or shapes.
        then dip the paper in water – not too wet, but wet enough to cover the whole page.
        then add the water color – loosely or in small drops so it bleeds and spreads.
        you can add salt to create effects – or just blot with a tissue.
        let dry
        and done.
        she LOVED what she made.
        and in five minutes – win-win-win
        then we did “embossing” and she made a little stamp with a cut out piece of foam that was adhered to a little block – another 5 minute project.

        but after this bit of chat with you – I think I will paint this weekend – hm – maybe.
        also – I just started the seven day art challenge and I will share some of my work from 2012 –
        it was busiest year with my own school work (I did way too much because I was trying to rush through) and I think the heavy texture and deep colors might have been related to my focus and the mode i was in – but I am sure I will see more later on….

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          This is fascinating to me mon amie! I need to check out your seven day art challenge – on your blog? – and I would never think of creating an art form out of a Sharpie – which I love writing with btw! As a leftie, I’m ‘odd’ about the feel of pens, the flow of a Sharpie makes me feel good…is that weird, lol?! I’m no artist, and I don’t possess any water colours (although one day I do fancy trying out painting with them, my favourite kind…) but I will put this on the back burner -ha, another of those cooking analogies! – for another time. I can just imagine how theraputic this must have been, for your niece, not in the mood for a long winded project, but this, so inventive and satisfiying and then her – and your’s – delight in the finished, created product. Looking back at your art and all that was going on in your life at certain times, I’m sure the colours and mediums used reflect tellingly on all that ‘lay beneath’. Ahh…the beauty and therapy and freedom of creating, whether in rain or in shine, or even by the banks of a river … 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • prior.. says:

            ahhh – you wordsmith you…
            “the beauty of creating, whether in rain or in shine, or even by the shores of a river”
            wellt thanks for the nice reply. I know exactly what you mean about Sharpies. And they have all these fun colors now – and then thin tip, medium, bold – and I still have a few of their calligraphy one s- and those can be fun.
            However, I do want o talk about pens for a moment – I mean – while we are on the topic…
            well I am actually not too picky and I usually can use whatever for journaling, well except for real cheap pens – toss those.

            well I bought my son some pens for back to school and he kept saying only to get the “G2 gel rollers”but they were out – and so I found a few other kinds. nope, did not like any of them – and he finally got his G2s (which I guess are the best gel ink pens around)
            well I got the leftovers and among the goodies were these Bic color gel pens and they are smooth, smooth, smooth. spoiled me. But sharpie is my favorite brand even for pens, although I have not had any of their pens in a long while.

            anyhow, back to art – I will include a few ten minute lesson sheets in your pack when I send you the Sopranos book (some year! hah) because the sheets are great for folks who might want to dabble, but only have so much time they want to invest. either way, art will always be there to experiment and explore….
            xoxo

            Liked by 1 person

            • Sherri says:

              Oh Y…I completely forgot about the Sopranos book! Oh I am so excited! I’ve always doodled…but I have only one scene I draw, which is a tree with a few distant birds on the wind, nothing more than a sort of spread out ‘v’, a sun behind some clouds and some grass and flowers poking out of a small, distant picket fence. Hmmm…I write dark yet I draw light and calm… ha! Oh I remember those G2 gel pens for the kids, I’m sure, many a trip round Staples looking for just the right types of pen and grabbing one or two for myself. I need a proper gel pen again, with a fine tip, I am forever losing them and have a stash of cheap things I do not like one bit. I knew you would understand completely my ‘thing’ about Sharpies, ha! My writing is scratchy and scrawly with those cheapies… but I will relish those ten minute lesson sheets, thank you so much mon amie….and once upon a time, I actually had calligraphy lessons using a fountain pen and ink at middle school, and loved them…even though I did get ink all the way up the left side of my hand…! xoxo

              Liked by 1 person

              • prior.. says:

                At first I was going to ask you if you had calligraphy in 1987- cos that is when I took it – but sounds like it was earlier – we almost overlapped again! Almost!
                And
                The wrong pen can be so frustrating !
                And interesting that you draw light and write dark…. might be a comfort zone thing .
                Well disregard this if you are not in the mood –
                But next time you are lightly drawing – make a few boxes and sketch them in light – medium – and dark.
                Then a bigger challenge is to make ten boxes and ten different variances –
                Make very light across to very dark – showing value across ten!
                It is tough to do with a basic #2 – and we have cheap pencil packs here that have h pencils (hard) and 5 or 6 B (soft) and then it is usually super easy.

                Anyhow – enough of all that!
                Have a great day – and love ya mon Amie – Sherri Matthews with two “t”s

                Liked by 1 person

                • Sherri says:

                  Haha…I like my new ‘two tiered’ name lol!!! Almost mon amie, almost! And yes, I agree with the comfort zone thing, as I am just a doodler, definitely not an artist. That sounds like an interesting exercise, I will try it! It’s been a while since I looked at the different grading of pencils, what was the standard, 2b was it? You’re taking me back to those school days, it’s great! Thanks so much mon amie, love ya right back! ❤

                  Like

                  • prior.. says:

                    Well I think 2h is standard now – hard and does not smear
                    Usually “b” pencils are softer and better for sketching – 2b not as soft as 5 or 6-and side note on the “drawing” side of art – some people forget there is so much more to art than this – or the folks who can draw super well are considered the greats – when sometimes excellent “draw-ers” are not always creative – they have skill with their mind and eye connection and output – but sometimes lack something other artists have.
                    But for anyone who wants to dabble with drawing more (and it can really be fun to hone a skill ) Mona Brooks has amazing books- “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” and “Drawing for Adults and Teens” is one of my treasured books for the ideas – she has an upside down training activity – trains the eye to find shapes and see lines; some copy sheets with little designs to replicate; and even mentions an. Ice eye exercise called “palming”

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Sherri says:

                      You have the heart of a true artist mon amie! I had no idea…perhaps there is hope for this non-artist after all! Loved chatting with you… 🙂 xoxo

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • prior.. says:

                      There is – but never ever again refer to yourself as a non artist.
                      Because you have not tapped some of your art side yet – Like drawing and painting – and much of that is learned and we then have varying degrees of talent and all that.
                      Second – you are an artist with your words – your photos – and even blog posts take an artsy hue in some ways – so like Mabel said in her chapter –
                      Artist has many areas
                      So never again say “non artist ”
                      Ok

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Sherri says:

                      You are right mon amie…I will never say those two words again… 🙂 ❤

                      Like

  39. Bella Italia, oh ich liebe deine stimmungsvollen Bilder über unseren südlichen Nachbarn. Danke Dir für’s zeigen…

    Liked by 1 person

  40. prior.. says:

    had to come by and leave this:

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Ste J says:

    My Friend! Green Shutters was wonderful and it was great that it helped you so. Love the photos as well, very awesome and I ut down Goethe’s Italian journey in favour Voltaire…what a mistake!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…maybe you can pick it back up sometime. I can’t believe I’ve actually turned your head towards a book, I feel honoured! And again, thank you so much my friend for your kind words about Green Shutters… smiling now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ste J says:

        I will go if the next pay packet is kind to me. It was great to read your words as always and thank you for sending them, it means a lot. I have turned my head away from books recently so your reminder was well timed.

        Liked by 1 person

  42. John Maberry says:

    Great story and beautiful pictures! One more place we should consider someday visiting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much for visiting and leaving your lovely comment John, so glad you enjoyed it. I hope you visit Lake Garda one day; we kept saying we would and finally got there…now for all those other places on the ever-growing list… 😉

      Like

  43. Wonderful! I knew just by taking this holiday that the writer inside would come out to play Sherri. We get so burnt out with general life that a holiday is a fantastic way to inspire the soul. Who wouldn’t be inspired by this place. Good luck on your writing journey next year xxxx.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much dear Kath…your messages always bring me great joy and comfort. I wish you the very same for 2017, a year filled with fufillment, creativity and joy. Happy New year my friend! xxx

      Like

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