…in the Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre
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Remember the time when you were young, soul searching, and trying to find out who you wanted to be? At age 21, I learned a lot about myself while hiking the coastal footpath that links the (Five Lands) Cinque Terre.
I took it all in – Watching locals and tourist fill bottles of water in the city fountains. Watching village children run and play at the edge of clear Ligurian Sea. Eating the local catch. Repainting the red sea salt battered door with my eyes. Dreaming awake. Stomping grapes; okay, dreaming about stomping grapes. Laying on boulders, caressed by the sun and sea, glass of wine in hand, talking with a stranger like a friend..in Italian… I took in village life – the dolce vita. Everyday, I decided, would be a simple celebration of life. No matter what I would do in the future, I would find the simple joy in it.
I knew then, my soul would forever be changed by that moment. The Italian Riviera would always be my soul’s home away from home.
These little fishing/farming villages are free of motorized vehicles. They are a protected UNESCO Human Heritage Site, located in a National Park, and surrounded by a Protected Marine Area. They are timeless fruits of centuries of hard work bearing fruits of the vine.
On October 25, 2011, Vernazza and Monterosso faced a natural disaster. The 100 year rain poured down. Flash floods filled the two villages. Vernazza was all but destroyed. The following morning when it made international news, I felt heartbroken. As I retold my parents, aunt, and sister that evening and shared a vintage Alle 5 wine… I decided I wanted to help.
I returned in Feburary 2012 to Vernazza. I found a ruined village full of hope, and help from the world over. I went to encourage, as I did not have the skill set the village needed at the time. I was looking for hope too. My Daddy was sick with Stage 4 Lymphoma and I climbed steep mountainous trails to ancient churches to pray. I found hope. I brought strength back with me from the other house that built me.
I now have the opportunity to return to Vernazza and help rebuild dry stone walls that make this coastal community what it is. Please help me lend a hand in restoring one of the world’s longest walls and strenghthing my ties to my soul’s home.
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