If meditation is time travel, then I have been there with Leonardo and Sandro and Lisa. I brushed against their cloaks of country-rough sackcloth or city-thick velvet trimmed in fur, and run my fingers over the heavy embroidered stuff of their Sunday best.
I’ve worn a wedding gown of stiff pearl-encrusted silk.
I’ve paced out the length and breadth of the Piazza della Signoria with Il Marzocco (the heraldic lion of Florence) and his wife – the back-to-back lions of yesterday and tomorrow. We skirted the deserted arena, a savannah of sun-baked paving stones, hugging the walls, keeping to the shadows – circling the square, squaring the circle, roaring at its empty coliseum of African dreams, ignoring the pigeons and an escaped wishing-pig. We were careful to sidestep Savonarola’s fire-blackened martyr-stone marking the center of vanity, the very heart of art.
I’ve set aside many a nosegay against the blast of renaissance filth. But then I’ve also been gifted the scent of flowers blooming free of diesel fumes and pesticides that leave our bleached versions of fruit and vegetables and pale-scented roses in the dust.
I’ve shadowed fifteenth-century Florentines unawares, light and casual in my T-shirt and tenderized stone-washed jeans, shuffling through their littered streets in sensible shoes, vaccinated and well-supplied with bottled water.
As a time-traveler, I’ve explored their natures the way discoverers of the New World embraced the shores of a Utopian mirage. I invited them inside my head, to share one mood, one pair of eyes, and allowed their DNA to mature – to percolate in quiet moments and prosper under my skin.
As their host, I gave them breath and a voice. As an author, I continue to shout their praises in pixels and electrons, and gift them paper and air.
SO… WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?
Were you a fly on the wall? Or inside someone’s head? Or did you settle-in under an historical character’s skin?
Meet me for an espresso in the marketa of Florence beside the wishing pig.
See you there.
‘I WAS THERE’ – V. Knox
*the e-book version will be available at the end of January, 2017