It started by dreaming out loud.
I was spending a few days with my dear friend Sheree Fitch at her home in River John, Nova Scotia. Sheree is an award-winning writer, bookseller, teacher, and literacy activist.
In our 30 years of friendship we had often talked about going on an adventure together. One we often dreamed of was walking the Camino - it became our mantra, but every time we’d start to make plans, life got in the way and we would say, “When this is over…we’ll walk the Camino.” Until one day we realized that this life journey we’d been walking for so many years - this WAS the Camino - and we were walking it - every day. Through joy and pain and grief and wonder…we kept walking.
On this one day Sheree grabbed me by the hand and took me to up to her office - a book-lined room with cathedral windows that overlooked River John. She pulled up a website on her computer - Lemon Tree House. Tuscany. A two week writing residency with writers and artists from around the globe. Sheree knew that going to Tuscany had been a life-long dream of mine. We went through the website together ooohhhing and aaahhhing and imagining ourselves together at Lemon Tree House, high in the hills, in the company of writers and artists and surrounded by the beauty of Tuscany. I remember the excitement that day, almost two years ago, when we stood together dreaming.
Like most dreams it did not unfold as we had imagined. For Sheree life brought unexpected change and unimaginable loss. Walking the Camino of life is not easy. So we won’t be sharing this adventure together - not this time at least. But, in two days’ time I will be getting on a plane and flying across the ocean. I will land in Rome and make my way by train to the Lemon Tree House in Camporsevoli. I will settle into my house and meet my housemates and head up the hill to the main house with all the others for cocktails and dinner. And that night I will raise a glass to my friend Sheree, who dreamed a wonderful dream.
I am working on a new novel and have my manuscript packed along with good walking shoes, and a warm sweater for cool evenings. I am excited. I am scared. Very scared. I have to remind myself to keep breathing. I have to remind myself that it is not a dream.
So, deep breath…off I go…