Bells, Sheep and Sunsets

the hills of umbria

We have been home from Europe for almost a month. It is beginning to feel like a dream and that scares me. I seldom dream. And even less often, I remember what I dream. So some of the next blogs are going to be the retelling of a dream. In hopes that I don’t forget.

I wish I could tell you there will be some order or rhyme. A chronological progression through England, Italy, and France. It’s not going to be that. Think of it more like, “Where in the World is…?”

And our first stop is Italy…

The ability to be in more than one place at a time is not a new wish. Who can forget Dolly?

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 3.31.12 PM

The scientific introduction to cloning. And in the same year, 1996, Michael Keaton did a movie called Multiplicity. He cloned himself and set out to divide and conquer. (Pun intended.) We are curious to know if we can live outside ourselves, our physical bodies.

I’ve told my children on several occasions that I cannot be in two places at once. Now I am realizing that is not entirely true. Though we cannot create physical clones of ourselves (to which my husband shouts “Hallelujah”) we do have an innate ability to be in two places at once.


Casa La Ripe

That’s me in Italy. It represents a piece of me that is still there.

Every now and then, my mind wanders to noon, outside the little village of Poggio Aquilone. The bells from the ancient rock church propped on the edge of the hill echo through the lush valley. Metal hits metal and reminds those within a large radius that the day is steadily moving on. An invitation to pause and listen. To be still and let the twelve chimes surround and envelope.

A sermon in rich tones.

“Today is all you have. There will never be another day like today.”

I got home and realized I had left behind a piece of me. Would I learn to compensate? Would I pine away and long for wholeness again? Would I even be able to find the pieces should I return to those places?

But Europe didn’t take anything from me. It was an exchange. I left part of me there and made room to bring something of Europe home with me.

I miss the church bells. The day doesn’t seem as sacred without them. But I look at the stark hills across the valley. The sun is setting. It radiates through the clouds and paints the sky a myriad of colors I cannot even name. Something stirs. And I am reminded again.

 “Today is all I have. There will never be another day like today.”

I close my eyes and visit the little village on the hill in the heart of Italy. And in the quietness of the Nevada desert, I hear the bells chime.


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10 Comments on "Bells, Sheep and Sunsets"

  1. Janet Hanson
    01/08/2013 at 9:16 am Permalink

    I can hear the bells through your words, and a potent reminder. Thank you for sharing a piece of Europe with me today!

  2. Rebecca Qualls
    01/08/2013 at 10:26 am Permalink

    Janet, we will always have France. 🙂

  3. Christine West
    01/08/2013 at 9:36 am Permalink

    Ummmm…love this. I quickly made a photobook of our adventures in Europe this summer, so as not to forget. There are some things that pictures just can’t capture though, like your church bells ringing. Some of those amazing pictures will remain in our hearts as a dream, and a calling to some day return. I am glad you are back to writing again – you always inspire me!!

  4. Rebecca Qualls
    01/08/2013 at 10:29 am Permalink

    Thank you, Christine, for your kind words. They mean a lot. And a photobook is on my list of things to do!

  5. Hal Hunt
    01/08/2013 at 9:59 am Permalink

    You answered your own Q in the last paragraph. Everything you have done is still in you and always will be. ENJOY YOU. xoxopapa

  6. Rebecca Qualls
    01/08/2013 at 10:31 am Permalink

    Perhaps another blog should be about how our experiences make us who we are? 🙂 Thanks for the comment! It’s always great to hear from you!! Any chance you will be on the west coast at some point? XOXO

  7. Susan Basham
    01/08/2013 at 11:20 am Permalink

    Remembering Carcasonne fondly, and how much I learned about myself while in France. Although the language and their ways seemed unfamiliar, so much of my spirit sensed “I’m home!”

  8. Rebecca Qualls
    01/08/2013 at 11:38 am Permalink

    Ahhh Carcassonne!! A beautiful day with beautiful people!!

  9. Teddi Deppner
    01/08/2013 at 5:17 pm Permalink

    Beautiful, Rebecca. I’d like to do more sitting and remembering. I think it would help me to be more aware of the present moment and the memories being made “now”.

  10. Rebecca Qualls
    01/08/2013 at 6:37 pm Permalink

    Thanks, Teddi. In some ways it’s paradoxical. We remember the past to live more fully in the present. Maybe that’s part of ‘being still?’ Hmmm, I’ll be pondering. In stillness. (Haha!)

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