For this IN THE MOOD post here’s a rose that caught my eye.  I can’t think of a better way to recharge at the tail end of a winter season in February than a fast two day escape to Rome and a short hour and a half train ride from Florence. Being able to walk all around with no serious agenda or commitments and just visit with a friend, Linda, who lives in Orvieto and commutes back and forth between Rome and Orvieto for her eco ho[s]tel, The Beehive, made for a perfect impromptu getaway.

With Valentine’s Day was approaching, I noticed this lone flower as we wandered down into the low key village feel of the Monti neighborhood. It made me immediately think of the Missed Connections site by one of my favorite graphic artists and children’s book illustrator, Australian born and New York based, Sophie Blackall, who reads the missed connections notices from Craig’s List in New York City and draws whimsical sketches, weaving imaginative stories around just a few sentences. In her words, she essentially draws inspiration from “the online listings posted by lovelorn strangers hoping to reconnect.”

Because this fragile rose had been placed slightly dangling over a pipe, while I was taking photos of it from different angles the owner of the lovely La Casetta deli/caffè/wine bar noticed and walked outside. He was worried that his wall might have been tagged with graffiti once again. This friendly and engaging man walked us around to the front window and showed me the handwritten message on the glass shopfront addressed to the visitatori notturni, the “nighttime visitors,” the graffiti vandals, that is.  In the message he begs them politely not to vandalise the property again for the fourth time and suggests they come for a coffee in the morning instead, promising they won’t be denied one. I admired this act of active citizenship by one local small business owner standing up to this public degradation by marking up his own storefront with a response, but I was also touched by the simple gesture of generosity contained in the message.

After talking, we decided it was time for yet another coffee for us (Rome’s coffee is particularly famous, so when in Rome…) so we stepped inside, chatted with him more and lingered just a little while longer over our coffees before continuing on.

So with this rose, Happy Valentine’s Day and Buon San Valentino, imagining all those mysterious stories and missed connections, but above all appreciating the kindness and generosity in people and the impromptu moments in life we share with friends, loved ones and new faces.



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