Alone was waiting for me back home.
Or so I thought.
With one and a half hours left in Rome, assuming I would never return (because I didn't toss a coin in Trevi this time), I over-contemplated what to do. Within a small group of students and adults, there were several options: returning to Trevi fountain, exploring the streets, shopping, or visiting the Capitolini-a prized museum known for several famous statues.
My heart said museum, but I was hesitant to spend my last minutes among a museum crowd of people waiting their turn for a close-up. Fortunately, Susannah swayed us towards the Capitolini. Knowing time was a premium, I suggested we split up, and...
my unknown Roman dream came true: time alone in the museum.
It was 6:00 p.m. and perhaps the dark night, the cold, and a too-soon closing time, kept the crowd unexpectedly small. As I moved from room to room, I was alone. I chose a sculpture or painting and moved close, imagining its artist, its original purpose, or the person for whom the work was commissioned. Within the inner bowels of the museum, I gloried in the space of the Palazzo de Conservatori apartments filled with 18th century frescoes, one of which depicted a favorite ancient story: Hanibal riding an elephant, driving his army to conquer the Roman Empire.
Oh if these walls could talk; but they actually did!
Jesus teaching in the temple.
Part of the small Egyptian collection. 359 BC from the temple of Isis
Indescribable artist abilities.
My alone time was such a treasure, but every time I overly-treasure a tangible good, or a measurable commodity, I think of a dear friend's theory about hell. She hypothesized that earthly possessions, hobbies, and habits we loved could become our hell. She used the example of golf or running--in healthy doses they each bring us joy, heath and vitality. If overdone, if we had to run or play golf 24 hours a day, the sports would become a personal hell.
Mary's theory becomes a warning for balance. I try to imagine the entire trip all alone.
After an hour and a half in the museum, I'm happy to greet my crowd of travelers, my friends, my students.