Hello all – I want to let you know what I’ve been up to. My husband and I are just back from a fabulous European vacation. Fabulous in the sense that there were no horrible mix-ups (always my fear when traveling abroad) and we had several peak experiences. Here is evidence of some of them.
This is the 90th year reunion photo of Art’s extended family in France.
His paternal grandmother is the only one of seven children to leave France to marry an American. Art’s grandfather was a German-American YMCA worker in World War I. The French family bought a piece of land on Lake Geneva to celebrate the survival of all four brothers who served in WWI. The highlight of the 90th reunion weekend was singing in a family production of Vivaldi’s Gloria, with a 50-member chorus, a small orchestra and three soloists – all family members or in-laws. I could barely contain my tears trying to sing with the other altos, and when I looked into the audience, I saw that many people were sobbing outright. They clapped after every movement. They knew it wasn’t proper, but they couldn’t help themselves. It was all too moving and beautiful. We in the chorus had done the same in rehearsal for the soloists.
I was also overwhelmed while watching this production of Madame Butterfly at the Roman Arena in Verona, Italy.
Imagine – people have been entertained here for well over 2,000 years.
The opera didn’t start until dark at 9PM. Then it got rained out, just about three minutes before Butterfly was about to commit hari-kari. I didn’t mind. I already knew how the story ended (Sorry if I ruined it for anyone!) and loved the excitement of watching the approaching storm, then fleeing with the other inveterate opera fans who didn’t start to leave until the announcement was made, the stage lights went up and the music abruptly stopped. I loved how the musicians leapt from the orchestra to protect their instruments and how the cast members stopped in place – in character until the very end.Overall, I was feeling good about humanity and about nature, especially here, viewing the Matterhorn from our modest AirBnB in the very immodest Zermatt, Switzerland.
“Disneyland of the Alps” is what came to mind as we emerged onto the touristy, car-free main street after parking our car below in a giant underground garage and arriving by tram up the mountainside.
But the mountain hikes were spectacular.
When we came home, I was ready, or thought I was, until we actually landed and it hit me that the horrible US news, which I’d been keeping up with, was actually happening right here, where I live. Somehow, the Atlantic Ocean and a wealth of positive experiences had kept me sufficiently mentally separated from the crazy place that our country has become.
I must tell you that whenever the word “Trump” came up in Europe, it was followed by derisive laughter – the international language that we all speak and understand.
I also must tell you that we’re heading out again this weekend to view the total solar eclipse from a small southern town that’s in its direct path. It will be good to get away again. Maybe I can forget where I live for a few days to become a creature of the universe.
Happy Solar Eclipse everyone. Meanwhile, we’ll complete the summer here at the Rational Doubt blog with a reprise of Vacation Bible School.
**Editor’s Question** How are you observing the eclipse?