I am presently enjoying several weeks in my beloved Italy. There is so much to write about but I think I have to give first place of honor to the Island of Ischia, which sits just off the coast from Naples. We arrived in Naples, via Rome, on a Thursday evening and after six days catching up with jet-lag, eating LOTS of mozzarella (among many other good Italian dishes!), and going to Bahia Blanca, a favourite beach on the other side of Gaeta, we took the ferry over to Ischia. This is an island formed by volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago.
The first thing that visitors to Ischia notice as the ferry approaches the island is how green and fresh everything is despite the heat. Because Ischia is a volcanic island it is quite mountainous and its slopes are a rich green as they come down to meet the various towns and villages. Almost every garden is rich in flowers which at the moment are in full summer bloom.
All of the streets are lined, usually on both sides, with tall rhododendron trees dripping flowers in every shade of pink imaginable. Bougainvillea in all its many shades spills over walls, climbs fences, and trails up and down the walls of houses as though an artist had dipped many brushes into different colors on his palette and splashed them here and there in wild abandon. Hibiscus offer up their beautiful shallow open trumpets as though about to create some romantic perfumed symphony, and huge pregnant balls of mauve and blue blooms top the stems among the lush green foliage on large hortensia bushes. Everywhere is a riot of color.
But color does not stop with God’s amazing creation. The residents of Ischia have added their own artistic touch to their island. Houses are painted in every pastel tint available. Shops are decorated with colorfully decorated tiles or painted murals and a wild profusion of products hangs in doorways, spills out onto the sidewalks, or fills windows in such a way as to entice the passerby to stop and peruse and, perhaps, buy. My heart and soul are filled with color since being here in Italy and Ischia has played a principal part in that.
So these are the last group of wise words that came to me as we were doing our retirement ride. I know there will be many more words of wisdom to share with you, there are so many wise people past and present! But these particular words just seemed to jump out of the woodwork wherever I found myself in those twenty days traveling this continent.
“Life is a mirror – if you frown at it, it frowns back; if you smile at it, it returns the greeting.” (Chinese proverb)
“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” (Jim Rohn)
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” (Marcel Proust)
Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, in as much as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid.” (John Keats)
“Take time every day to do something ridiculous.” (Philipa Walker)
“Insist on yourself. Never imitate.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.” (Thomas Merton)
“You’re the strongest person I ever met, she said, I said, you too and we decided we’d know each other a long time.” (Brian Andreas)
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” (Helen Keller)
“Most people don’t know there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don’t get too comfortable and fall asleep and miss your life.” (Anonymous)
“Your outer world reflects your inner world; peaceful thoughts produce peace.” (Joan Gattuso)
“Every artist was first an amateur.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
I have already accumulated more quotations to share with you, so it won’t be long before another “Shared Wisdom” posting reaches you. I think my secondary mission in life may be to spread these words to as many people as possible.