Once upon I lived in Rome, then Paris, then Venice before I moved to Prague. I lived in busy cities like Seattle and NY and London before moving to Europe, long before ending up here, in Piemonte; nestled up against the Italian alps, in the middle of nowhere.
Yet whenever I wonder why I ever left Seattle in the first place, the mind goes to spring and those precious hikes taken with Anna. Where herbs are everywhere and the shaman and healers still roam the magical mountains of Piemonte.
Sometimes when I’m in my car, taking all that time to get somewhere, I see the Piemontese lurking by the side of the road. I think they should pay attention to my car driving by because it might hit them but they are too focused on finding their herbs and flowers hidden deep within the tall green grass, ready to be discovered, picked and put in their baskets for medicinal reasons, depending on the season
And then I think of this German gal, her name is Cat, she’s blonde and owns horses. Sometimes she comes along on these hikes, with me and the rest of the Piemontese, a few that know almost as much as Anna but still, they take notes religiously, as if we’re a moving church, critical notes, taken with a pencil or their memory. They want to confirm ‘this’ flower or ‘that’ herb can assist with whatever may ail them, or their skin, or make their mother or son feel better. Sometimes it just makes them feel more self-sufficient and happy. Because they are Piemontese.
It’s like this, Anna knows everything. I’ve known her for a few years but still, I’m not sure if she’s a hunter, a gatherer, a witch or a sophisticate. And when we spend time in her library, one of the loveliest I’ve ever seen, located in the forest where she lives…when I visit Anna’s library, unlike mine, I know without having to ask she’s read every single book. We sit down surrounded by crystals and swords and 4 walls filled with books. We sit and discuss what ails me, and then Anna looks up my complaints in her books and gives me a recipe and I always feel better.
Everyone adores Anna, they gravitate towards her and these magical mystery tours – these hikes, where we walk for hours in the morning, in spring and summer. Then we end up back in her home, surrounded by trees and spells strategically placed here and there, and then about a dozen of us congregate on her deck and she brings out treats and tea, all packed with herbs. One time we ate roses, they were soft and delicate and slightly pink and they filled my mouth and tasted surprisingly good
But back to that German gal named Cat, I remember that she said she moved to Piemonte because in Germany they were too busy cultivating their herbs out of their precious hills, and that’s why she moved here.
I remember when I moved here 7 years ago; I too had aspirations. I wanted to learn how to listen to the trees, to learn the healing powers of herbs…..
…but one of the nicest surprises was meeting someone like Anna…
You’ll read her story, it’s in my next book….