Let go of control. Easier said than done. What I hoped would be a lasting lesson has been harder than expected.
As I followed the lead of Nadia, dicing the fresh tomatoes from her garden, I carefully took in her words. She spoke of following the seasons, of letting the garden and seasons command the menu. Agriturismo Marciano, the organic farm/bed and breakfast owned by Nadia and her brother, was always at the mercy of the seasons. The seasons and weather decided when grapes would be harvested for wine or olives for olive oil. What a person was in the mood for didn’t matter. What mattered was using what was fresh, in season, and available, and crafting it into the perfect dish. If that which Nadia was craving was *neither in season not growing in her garden, it would have to wait.
And for good reason. By following the seasons, each ingredient is at its finest. The meal my cousin, Calloway, and I had at Agriturismo Marciano was quite likely, the freshest I’ve ever had. I found it so much more satisfying to let nature decide my meal than to follow the whims of my cravings.
Humans, by nature, try to control everything. Set in a mentality that if you want something, you take command and get it, has left us settling for low quality ingredients in favor of getting what we want when we want it. I’ve noticed this tendency in my own life, too. A control freak, there have certainly been times when I should have let a day guide me, instead of trying to grab the reins myself.
In Europe and especially Italy, logistics can be a pain and a half. Unless all parties involved have wifi at the exactly the same time and are able to keep it for the duration of a full conversation, you can forget a seamless meeting. And I, being a stubborn planner, struggle with this quite a bit. Just yesterday, I had a full day to myself: a day full of potential and one of the few full days I have left considering how soon I go back to the states. I woke at 10, thinking I could perhaps go with friends on a hike. Maybe even take the train to the beach. I just had to wait for my friend to finish her papers. Afraid that I would loose wifi and not be able to coordinate with her, I stayed at home, conscious of the beautiful sunlight streaming in through my window that I was missing. Time continued to pass until, at last, my day of beautiful potential turned into a day a laundry, cleaning, Netflix and FaceBook. Had I let the day command me, perhaps I would have been found on the height of a Tuscan hill, the sun warm on my back and shoulders.
So it seems I still need to allow Nadia’s lesson to fully sink in. Maybe I can let go of my own control and leave wasted days behind me.