A small important celebration
San Leo – a small Italian hamlet of four or five farms nestled in the hilly landscape between Urbino and Fano. Each and every house here looks like it has been standing for centuries – because it has. On one of the farming properties here, a family from South Tyrol had settled.
Years ago, I was taken to a small celebration there in San Leo; by accident I was in the area at the time. The site was by South Tyrol standards fairly large; the house left a dominating impression and it was easy to imagine that people lived exactly so 200 or 300 years ago. The only difference today seemed to be the electric lighting.
We were about 10 people – everyone had a task to do in order to organize the whole party. Helping out is here a part of good hospitality. One thing that surprised me was the language which people used to speak about the preparations. Within the first hours I noticed that people employed themes that dealt with the fundamental elements of life.
Some themes were Love, Harvest, Children, Sowing and Food. The attention given to these themes through the language fascinated me. I noticed how far away from this my own life was in my world in which Work, Success, and Family constituted the guiding framework.
The celebration in itself was not a climax, for the transition from preparation to celebration was fluid. Following the saying, “Anticipation is the most beautiful form of delight,” the preparatory activities remain the strongest memories of that event.
I was fascinated with the contrasts presented to me in this situation, with the serenity of it all which touched me, with the strength which related it all to me. All this led me to question if I was on the right way.
Retreat? Change? Leave the old ways? These questions were not filled with fear, rather with a feeling of joy. I stayed one day and one night in San Leo and in the morning I knew that I had to return to my world. Nevertheless the memory of this experience in San Leo always returns to me, especially in situations that involve things of worth, such as Love, Sowing and Harvesting.