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The road winds, dips, rises then curves once more. It’s the type of road that motorcyclists love as they lean and meld into its slope. Children too adore the endless appeal of what comes next; curious about what lies around the bend. Sometimes it is a surprise heart stopping view through an unexpected gap in the greenery, other times the mood is dampened by a chilly shaded area due to the thick entanglement of forest.

Today, at this early hour, a pristine sky bathes the surroundings in the most favorable quality of developing light that will return only at dusk when it recedes.

The stillness and silence offers up respect for the centenarian olive groves and steppes of vines, the mountains and hills and the old farmhouses perched there from bygone times. In these tiny borghi (villages) you can find families going back five generations.

It all feels ancient: bird song, dog bark, church bells, musty damp earth, scurrying mice and the scent of wood burning fire.

Shortly, when industriousness kicks in, also modern sounds will be heard: lawnmowers, electric saws, tractors, seeders and sprayers used by the vulnerable and humble workers of the land.

The winding road, forever a metaphor for life or an approach to living that is more meditative and gentle in contrast to the high-speed straight lining style of today. Here you saunter, amble, ramble dawdle and roam in an ever flowing movement downward, upward, onward.

Even now, as an adult, I feel exploratory and adventurous, giving in to the tug of excited anticipation that stems from the pull of the unknown. It’s only me and a variety of bird life flitting about overhead and in the trees and shrubs. I wonder if they are oblivious to all this beauty or if they are its greatest admirers.

The hills slightly shimmer light to dark green and the mountains behind are swathed in blue velvet at this hour. Such vastness readjusts any arrogant grandiosity within.

To stand in thrall of such spectacular beauty is to stand in thrall of life.

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