A Wonderful Week in Tuscany

It has been a wonderful (and wonder-filled) week here at Ebbio – my European home away from home – tucked safely away in the Tuscan hills northwest of Siena. The sun is shining and the animals are all out playing. I layed on the trampoline for a wee rest after washing the morning’s dishes and now that our guests are gone (having finished their week-long yoga retreat) the farm is quiet and I am left to reflect on these beautiful days gone by.

Shanti the cow gave birth to a cute new calf the day I arrived. That seemed like a good start. We had a few days of rain, but a lot of sunshine also. The smell of ‘after rain’ is so rich in the Tuscan countryside. There have been several clear nights to stare up and drink in the stars, their light so strong here, the sprawl of the milky way so well defined, that one can only be stunned by wonder. The air is cooling with autumn’s fall, but the sun is still strong and warm in the daytime.

Yesterday I went hunting for mushrooms with a friend. It was fun. It has not been the greatest season for mushrooms, apparently, with the summer having been rather dry. But we filled a basket and returned to the farm to crack some nuts open. We have a lot of walnuts here and some almonds too. It takes time to get at them, but it is enjoyable, espcially with some good company. We found some decent rocks to crack the nuts open and sat chatting on a stone wall for a couple of hours as the chickens clucked and scrapped over the bits we cast aside.

The donkeys and horses have been out and about this week. The geese are on the loose daily, even getting caught taking a swim in the pool yesterday. The chickens, too, can regularly be seen scouring the land for snacks. Rico and Rocco, our farm dogs, are always on hand, ready to greet guests or bark at wild boars.

My friend Felix, who generously picked me up from the airport in Rome last week, came by to help out here and stay a couple of nights. We went out for a fancy dinner in San Gimignano on Tuesday (I had a mushroom risotto), and then I was invited to join our yoga group the following night for a nice dinner in Castellina in Chianti (I had gnocchi in pecorino cheese sauce). 🙂 I know I am a lucky lad.

I was also invited to join this beautiful group for a number of their classes, enjoying both meditation and singing. We did several sessions of heart-opening Kirtan chanting (singing Sanskrit mantras), which was highly energetic and wholly enveloping. We also did some very casual sing-along-style oldies one night after dinner. Just the classics. The Beatles. Buddy Holly. Simon & Garfunkel. Cat Stevens. Bob Dylan. Bob Marley. John Denver…oh, those country roads…they get me every time.

The group here was really into the retreat. They came to work. It is great to be around such growth. There was a very powerful energy at work here this week and I was glad to support it, keeping everyone fed an ready to dive back into the studio. I washed a lot of dishes and sang and laughed a lot. I felt a lot of love.

Next week looks like olive harvest.

I will keep you posted as I am able…

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