In Italy my senses have captured my attention. We had dinner in an ancient restaurant last night, in full view of the open fire upon which our dinner was cooked. Wine flowed and conversation poured forth as we all talked about our trips down to the river, hikes up the mountain, and interactions with Italians. My senses took in the heat from the fire, the gentle lighting, the sounds of laughter and song bouncing off the rough stone walls, and the tastes of carefully crafted, locally-sourced food and wine.
Last week in class, Kris Morehouse read to us from Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr. She read the following excerpt,
Without habit, the beauty of the world would overwhelm us. We’d pass out every time we saw— actually saw— a flower. Imagine if we only got to see a cumulonimbus cloud or Cassiopeia or a snowfall once a century: there’d be pandemonium in the streets. (Doerr, 2008, p unknown)I have eaten some spectacular food while I have been in Italy. What I have realized is that lacking a mind-blowing, transformational esserlebnis (German for eating-experience), I never would have known the astonishingly wide range of possibilities. It is not just the dark chocolate gelato or the fried zucchini blossoms served with strawberrried honey and balsamic reduction sauce. It is all sensory experiences. As the first exceptional gelato surged across the sides of my tongue and the roof of my mouth, it was as if I awoke from a deep slumber. My senses came to life and it became a whole-body experience to walk through the piazza with newly-found friends and a small cup of life-changing mandorla gelato. Without the waxy-feeling, artificial-tasting gelato that I also had in Rome, I could not have known or experienced the pandemonium in my mouth of that amazing gelato.