I start this journey through Florence, Italy by thanking my friend, Andrew O’Leske, for my gorgeous journals and my hand-tooled fountain pen. I played with fountain pens a bit during art class in high school, but I have never really written with one.
The journals are beautiful and inspiring. The first is leather bound with a detailed tree of life on the front and back covers, and intricate scroll work surrounding them. It was handmade in Italy. How appropriate. When I held it in my hands, it spoke to me of possibility and responsibility. It felt weighty, yet full of potential.
The second is hardbound and a reproduction of a journal titled The Rubdiyat of Omar Kkayydm which was created by Francis Sangorski in 1911. The original was encrusted with jewels. It went down with the Titanic in 1912. This exquisite journal spoke of familiarity and confidence. It would be a place where I could easily write.
My lovely pen offered articulate elegance, if I can learn to use it properly. So far, this has turned out to be a more complex task, on all levels, than I anticipated.
Sabbaticals are about retooling, about visioning possibilities, and about new beginnings. My trip to Florence is the same. This is an interesting moment in my life. My daughter finishes her undergraduate studies in psychology and communication in December. My son is positioning himself for management in a job he loves. I have accomplished everything I have set for myself to this point. I look to the future and delight in the opportunity to consider possibilities for the next phase of my life. This time is for me. How often do we take the chance to sit with the possibilities in a glorious, inspiring place? I know I have never done anything quite like this. I have the gift of time to ponder what will give me joy, fulfillment, purpose. I have the time to reflect on what has given me these things in the past. The answers, in fact, the questions, are not yet clear. I cherish the time to vision, to consider, to contemplate. I look forward to sharing this adventure with you, dear reader.