I caught a ridiculously photogenic couple in Rome taking a selfie together on the pincian hill at sunset, with cupolas and Saint Peter’s behind them. Oh, to be young and beautiful and in love in Roma, what many in this world wouldn’t give for it. If only, I think to myself…
Persimmon trees bearing fruit with a view.
A little ruin and a little Renaissance (and rococo).
Dance of the tourists on the Villa Borghese’s Pincio overlooking the Piazza del Popolo.
A kissing dove and pigeon. White doves always strike me as a symbol of Ancient Rome, much like olive trees.
I like watching the beauty of Rome unfold before other people.
Down the Pincio, on the way to the Spanish Steps, there are views everywhere of cupolas up close and far away.
The endless flow of Roman water over stone and newly fallen leaves.
There’s always a sense of play and humor in the Villa Borghese park, especially in the Pincian hill section.
Walking along the Appian Way one is reminded why Rome will always be the eternal city, winter, spring, summer or autumn.
Spend some time in the eternal city and you will feel death like a whisper on the back of your neck.
Go there young, when you still feel invincible, and watch the tombs and monuments to a crumbled past deathmask-smile at you.
Return after you’ve loved and lost a little, when you’ve begun to collect possessions interchangeably with memories, hold hands past paupers and ruffians and the modern courtesan; the tourist liaisons hovering by menus, beckoning, offering, waving.
Return again after you’ve lost more than you’ve loved but you still have a bit of youth on your side, and you can take in the big picture.
Return next when you’ve hit your peak and now the edges are fraying a little. When fountains and paintings once trumpeting romance and pleasure are grimier and more worn than you remember. When the seducers and the money takers suggest more pallid languor than sex, where every turned corner is a missed opportunity or a new experience, depending on how beaten down or defiant you’ve become since that earlier youth on your first visit. You have a decision to make… Strength for strength or a quick decline.
Return a final time, as cherubs and seraphim throw off shrugs and hands in the air when the whisper of death becomes an aria crowding out the ears. Stare at the details or miss them, memorizing the picture of life doesn’t matter so much in the short term. The marks on your soul have already been decided for you. This is the golden amnesia hour, where every thing thought and felt is only for the rushing moment, water slipping through fingers, spilling out of the mouth, tasted, cooled but most of it landing on your face, your shirt, your shoes, the uneven cobblestones. Keep drinking it in.