me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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Franciscans and other thoughts

I'm sitting here at my desk in the Hotel Giotto, sniffing baking bread and watching the mist, which has already burned off from the plain below town, clear from the hills. I'm drinking strong tea and listening to the small sounds of early day when I hear laughter, talk and footsteps, a lot of ambition for a hot sleepy morning. I lean out my window. Making their way up the road below is a group of young men and women in dark blue shorts, light blue shirts, red neckerchiefs. Some have sticks to help them climb these steep streets; one carries a guitar. In their midst, and young as they, is a monk, in the traditional brown Franciscan robe with the rope belt, and wearing the non-traditional red bandana wrapping his head. They're all having a jolly time; if he's not a friend they've come to see, he's their guide while they're here and they've gotten to know each other. They stop briefly right under my room, to confer on what direction to take. I wave, they wave, and with great good humor after a discussion in Scandinavian tones they choose the steepest path and vanish up it.

Good humor seems to be the mood of the town. St. Francis, by all accounts, was a nice man. How can you not like a guy who loved -- and was loved by -- animals as much as he? There are monks and nuns everywhere. Not only do they live here -- every other building seems to be a monastery or convent -- but Franciscans from around the world make pilgrimages here. They stay for a week or a year; they pray, they study, they stroll around town. They take cell phone photos of the holy sites and of each other. Many seem to meet their relatives here: a couple of times I've seen monks and nuns clearly not ethnic Europeans, in the company of families that look like them. I suppose if you're of the Catholic faith and a religious persuasion, Assisi wouldn't be at all a bad place for a family reunion.

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