Mesmerized by the Beauty

   As our work and play in Italy, France and Greece comes to a close, I am mesmerized.  It is astonishing to me that our family of eight has been able to do these summers for seven summers in a row.  How can I thank God adequately for the blessing He has given us?  As people always say to Ron when he has explained his summer work, “What a job!”
   This summer trip has had the theme of beauty.  Perhaps it really began in the south of France.  I had never seen such beautiful colors, landscapes, mountain ranges, hillside villages.  I had never tasted mussels or baguettes or wine so delicious.  I had never smelled perfume or flowers quite so beautiful.  Although western Europe is close to the U.S. in many ways in terms of modern technology, medicine,  banking systems, and so forth, I felt a light year of distance between me and the locals of Provence.  Their heritage of sheep herding, lavender farming, bread making, fishing, and the like still defines who they are.  If modern Americans identify around Apple devices and having adequate wifi, the locals of Provence identify around beautiful treasures that grow out of the ground, whether it be flowers that make world-famous perfume, or grapes that become world-famous wine.
    The Greeks are no less exemplary for the world in terms of beauty.  The white washed stone structures built into Paleolithic mountainsides, the sunsets that spread of thousands of miles, the deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea, all have a healing power.  They anoint the eyes, cleanse the heart, calm the spirit.  This sea and land is where civilization–what many today would arrogantly call pre-historic only for the incidental, accidental fact that we do not have any recorded history from their rich, personal lives and cultures–first sprang.  The Mediterranean Sea has no sharks because it is a sea, not an ocean.  It is temperate, never getting too cold.  It is life-giving.  The climate, the land, the fertility, the accessibility from island to island all contribute to a happy, delightful springing forth of human culture.  Being there for so long, it finally made such intuitive sense to me why it is the birthplace of who we are.