Harnessing the power of intention – But it’s Sunday and all I want is pizza

Liquid gold sunrise, 7:00 a.m. – I’m snuggled in my morning chair, wooly blanket warming my knees, steaming espresso cupped in my hands, thinking.

Thinking about this cozy house, its perfect size, location, easterly orientation, amenities. Its quality and craftsmanship, the red sofa with Mediterranean blue and granny-apple green pillows that pick up the colors in the painting hanging above it.

The astounding panorama that holds me speechless.

Thinking about how I wondered what gift I could give myself to commemorate seventy years of life and immediately knew: Italy, the Amalfi Coast, Praiano. How until that moment I hadn’t an inkling what I wanted, and yet it was there without hesitation when summoned.

Thinking about the kindness and generosity of my host who makes this trip even more delightful with his helpfulness and relentless humor.

Nicola Irace, superhost, took this photo on my terrace the day I arrived.

The power of intention…has it no limits? It seems to grow stronger as I age. If I have a desire, almost before I put thought to it the Universe delivers. It’s spooky!

Gratitude floods my heart. What a privilege to have the resources, the health, the intact mind (some would argue that) to manifest this dream.

But there are still some things I have to actually go out and get. Today I crave pizza.

This stairway is my ticket to avoid the tunnel. It feels good to begin to know the lay of the land. About halfway up I unbutton my coat and loosen the scarf around my neck. I’m glad it’s February. I wouldn’t want to be navigating these inclines at 93°F (33.8°C) which is the average temperature in Praiano in July.

There are no cookie-cutter houses. Entrance gates and doorways are as different as the people who pass through them. My photo doesn’t do justice to the picture on the upper right. Bright yellow ceramic tiles march up the steps, and the finials on the wall above the door are sparkly green.

Red carnations drip over this home’s receiving area, and a dry fountain stands sentry by another.

I passed on breakfast and now my stomach’s rumbling. I found the menu for Che Bonta online. Pizza, seafood, panini, tiramisu. I should be getting close…yes, here it is. I stand in front of the door and read the sign: closed for the holidays. What holidays?

My dream of pizza fades. The coffee and croissant cafe from yesterday had a breakfast menu. It’s two minutes up the street. As I approach I see a spill of humanity clustered around outside tables – standing room only. It looks like the entire Tour de France in their team jerseys and bicycle helmets has stopped here to eat. Groan. Is this the only place in town that’s open?

Just then the bells in the tower of San Gennaro – the church with the blue dome – peal the call to worship. I forgot. It’s Sunday. The little cafe may very well be the only place serving the public today.

I’m not in the mood to elbow through all that testosterone. Food can wait. There’s another church high on the cliff that’s been on my radar. San Luca. A quick course correction and I’m on my way.

As I approach I hear more bells, then singing. The service is underway. For a half-second I contemplate entering. The thought passes.

I’ll have to come back when I can go inside.

My journey has taken me high up the mountain. On the map this morning I saw Via Duomo, a road leading from this church back to Tutto per Tutti market. But is it a road – or a path – or a staircase? There are no signs. I wander for a while, uncertain. There’s no one to ask.

Out of nowhere a man appears walking toward me. When he’s close enough to hear I say in my best Italian, Per favore, where is Tutto per Tutti? Half in English, half in Italian, he tells me it’s Sunday. Everything is closed. Tutto per Tutti is closed. But there is a small market…he motions me to follow him to the edge of a parking area. “See the car there?” He points. “Centro Market. It is open. You go there. Everything else is closed.”

I don’t have the heart or the language skills to tell him it’s just the landmark I want. I don’t need a market. But I thank him and start walking. Soon I’m overlooking what is by now a familiar switchback. If I go left at the curve it will take me directly to Tutto per Tutti.

I pass the grocery store, which is closed, and just ahead is Centro Market. As was the case the first time I went there, a man stands in the doorway. I recognize him as the owner. “Buongiorno,” I say.

“Buongiorno,” he replies.

I had no intention of shopping today, but all at once I crave human interaction. I nod and he steps aside to let me enter. A bin of enormous red peppers catches my eye. “Grande,” I say, hoping that’s the right word. He smiles and nods. I choose the largest and set it on the counter then make the rounds of the shop adding a couple of tomatoes, biscotti, two apples, and… there it is! Primitivo di Manduria, a wine from the Puglia region. He adds it to my bill. I pay and we stuff it all in my backpack. “Grazie,” I say. “Caio.”

Buon pomeriggio,” he says. “Rivederci.

I look up those words when I get home. Good afternoon. Meet again. How lovely is that? Then I empty my pack. What will I do with a giant red pepper? Nothing right now.

After I’ve thrown together egg and toast and scarfed it down, I grab a book, curl up in a lounge chair on the terrace, and promptly fall asleep. I wish I had an app that counted stairs!

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