The Cycle of Life

At the quarries `cave'
At the quarries `cave'

Summer is so beautiful at night.  All the little children are out in the park, too hot to sleep, running around the old pine trees, gentle voices murmuring on the terraces, the seagulls calling, still restless, making this mountain valley sound like the seaside.  We are back from our passegiata, the old paper factory hissing and steaming on the other side of the river, its steady rumble insistent, joining with the noise of cicadas and the river rolling over rocks below us.

Our old lady died.  I think she was ready though.  The last month was with her lovely daughter down the road.  She had settled into her new home and was tranquil, just didn’t want to eat any more.  People are so accepting of death here.  Its such a part of life.  I am always amazed at its proximity and feel heartbroken when it arrives so regularly, whisking people away right from under your nose.  I was never so aware of it in Australia.  Death came rarely to my family, so I never got used to it, and avoided it I suppose, because in the greater community you just didn’t seem to mix across the generations.  She was lovely, Libera, kind and fun and she had some importance in this country town, making costumes over the years for all the carnivals and theatrical performances.  Strange how life goes on.  I guess that is why we want to do things in life, leave our mark, show our footprint in the sand, graffiti the walls, be great…be remembered…

Last week we drove over the mountains searching for beautiful pieces of marble in the old disused quarries above Pietrasanta and Carrara for Sollai to start carving next week.  The quarries had been well picked over, leaving only fractured pieces that we could find.  So he will buy some from one of the yards.  It is the same story as 26 years ago when we were first here, living in the hills above Carrara.  Here to make our mark in life, to commit to our lives as artists; young, poor, idealistic and totally dedicated to the dream.


  1. Craig and Vicki O'Donohue says:

    Hi Shona and Michael – Just a short note to let you know that Craig and I will be visiting Tuscany August 14th to August 21st and we would love to have the opportunity of catching up with both you and Michael in Lucca if you are at home at that time. We are not staying too far away at San Cascino in Val di Pesa near San Gimignano. We will be hiring a car so we can come up and see you some time during that week. We will be busy on Thursday 19th but other days should be OK. Please let us know if you are available – email address above, we will be departing Australia 5th August, London, Ireland then Italy. Hope to hear from you.
    Vicki and Craig

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