There is a gentle breeze in the air. The pine tree is slowly dancing to the sounds of leaves blowing in the wind. A bumble bee buzzes by; flying from plant to plant in search of whatever it is that might tickle his fancy. Grapes hang from their vine waiting to ripen. The leaves of herbs and vegetables begin to yellow as their time is almost over. In the distance a bird sits atop the branch of a tree whose leaves have long been gone… lost to time, suspended in a state of reaching for the sky. Other birds are chatting about who knows what as a plane floats by in the distance.
All the while, I sit on a cushioned chair listening, observing, and enjoying the absence of any chaos of the city. My eyes briefly lose sight of the words I am spilling as I turn my focus to the reflection of the clouds in my tablet. Times may change but the sky always remains the same. It is the same sky that has hung over the heads of generations before us. Like a cloud in the sky, the older generation is full of stories and lessons waiting to pour them down on us. Too often those lessons fall on deaf ears as we are quick to pull out an umbrella.
Generations that came before us tend to see things differently than us, appreciate things more and have tons of stories to tell. It was a different time back then. A time that I am appreciative for having missed, but grateful to have the opportunity to understand through stories.
I love bread! A loaf is never too far away. Go to the corner store, nearby bakery, or supermarket and you are sure to find a loaf, a bun, or a slice to make your tummy happy. It is easy to take for granted the simplicity of grabbing some bread. My Nonna Anna, however, is quick to paint a picture of what it meant to go get some bread when she was a little girl growing up in Sicily.
Getting bread was not as simple as going to the store and grabbing a loaf. The story goes something like this:
“We didn’t go to the corner store to buy bread. You don’t understand what it meant to get bread when I was little. When we wanted bread we would go out to the field with a basket a pick the wheat. Once we had the wheat we would lay the wheat out on sheets and toss it to separate the wheat from the grass. Then we would carry it all the way over to the mill that had a donkey to grind it up. Once that was done we would bring it home and make our dough and loaves of unbaked bread. Then we would walk all the way to the bakery in town and wait in line for our turn for our loaves to get baked. Finally after all that we would have bread.”
For me, it’s difficult to look at a piece of bread and not be reminded of this story. I have thrown out so much bread over the years without a second thought because I let it get stale and it was easy to go get a fresh loaf. Our generation can be so wasteful and easily take things for granted.
It’s clear to me that much of our focus is monopolized by the technology of the day (trying not to sound like an old man here) and that many people rarely listen with their ears open to the older generation. If we took a moment to notice the reflection of the sky in our phones or tablets, we would see that the clouds that hang over us have stories to tell and lessons to pass on that are worth keeping the umbrella closed for. When the rain is gone, the sun will come out … shedding light on a few things that you otherwise would not have seen.