Last week we had family in town from the U.S. One of the first places we always want to show people is the Prosecco Hills area. Yes, it’s close to the area we live, and yes, the wine tasting is amazing…but there’s something else about this area—call it a vibe if you will—that is otherworldly. I think the feeling was amplified because we visited just as everything was starting to bloom. The grapevines were all bare, but almost all of them we budding. I’ve always loved Spring and Summer—it feels to me like there are somehow more possibilities during these times. This visit was an opportunity to reflect at the very beginning of Spring—to acknowledge a transition actively taking place and look forward to a time of growth, warmth, and longer days. That said, it was also a good time to reflect on the trials, tribulations, and victories from previous Winter. So many challenges and change to process. But enough time traveling with the mind—wasting energy talking about the future or the past. This short tension point between things being essentially dead and then coming to life is very interesting to me—particularly since it more or less happens at the same time every year—things can be planned around around this moment of transition. Everything transforms within the space of just a few weeks and all the sudden you look up and everything is different. This happens in so many other important domains of life. Sometimes the change you recognize after the fact is good, sometimes not so much. I guess the best thing we can do is be mindful of the change. Not unlike making it a point to watch or at least acknowledge the sun going down or rising daily. These monumental markers of change just seem too easy to overlook when we get lost in schedules. When you really think about it it’s heartbreaking how much we miss. I was going through the zillion photos I have on my phone the other day to free up some space and I ran across an image I captured in 2015. At that time, we were going through a period of transition and difficult decision-making. The image is a post-it note stuck on a desk that says:
Happiness = satisfaction in a circumstance
Circumstance is born from change
Change is the only constant
Happiness = change
I’m not sure if he wrote this or not, but it was in Dr. Will Heywood’s office at Arizona State University. I was getting ready to interview for new jobs and my family was in the midst of coming to terms with my mom’s advanced cancer diagnosis. Will was nice enough to let me use his office as a temporary work space. I found these words to be both helpful and comforting at the time, and now reflecting on the massive change we’ve experienced over the past seven years since I’d say the concept framework has held up pretty well! Obviously change is difficult, but I really like this re-framing.
We forgot what it was like to have an actual winter coming to Northern Italy from Central Florida. I definitely miss the warmer temps and longer days during Winter we enjoyed in Florida (I’m flying there as I write this and was shocked to see temps in the mid 80s on the weather forecast 😱), but I will say the cold brings a stronger appreciation of nice conditions and generally a more acute sense of change when it comes to environment. Just like with anything else, contrast is a generally a good thing. I talk about contrast in pairing typefaces and using typeface variants / case / tracking etc.. constantly when I teach typography. When everything is roughly the same nothing stands out. I’m interested in being more mindful when it comes to identifying those tipping points during a transition. Those little blossoms on the grapevines (which I photographed, but accidentally deleted lol—irony) are a perfect example. I wonder if those moments could be framed as fuel for personal change/improvement—maybe priority re-adjustment, gratitude practice, making time for exercise, reconnecting with an old hobby, or even just taking a few minutes to chill on the front porch every day without an electronic device. Developing new habits can be easy or hard depending on what you’re trying to do. I think all the habits I listed would fall under the hard category, lol. But it’s nice to think of / frame any kind of moment of transition be it daily, seasonal, yearly, etc… as markers/reminders to do the thing(s) you’ve been meaning to do—even if it’s only for a few minutes. I suppose that’s enough rambling for now—ciao.