The weather's getting warmer and more people are going outside. So I thought I'd post some reading material for the people who like to read outside. Two different stories about two different changes in seasons:
I have an artificial Christmas tree in my house that I decorate for every season.
But when A.C. Moore closed before the pandemic I got stuck, because after Christmas in July, we had the tree up. Now it's so close to Christmas we'll keep it up. For Valentine's Day, it's elaborate with the red hearts, and St. Patrick's Day we even have a leprechaun this big, and we have elves for Christmas, so we decorate for everything we can.
I used to put it all away in the attic because it's so big, and now we decided to make it a seasonal tree so it can be whatever we want.
But now it's almost close to, well actually we're going to see if, I’m going to look and see if I have enough stuff for the fall. If I do, I'll make it a fall tree obviously.
But other than that, we're close to Christmas almost, so we're going to keep it up.
At age 19 I was traipsing around Europe for 3 months with my best friend Kathy on a Eurail pass. After adventures in England, the Netherlands, Spain, and France, we arrived in Italy. Florence was our first stop. I had just started to learn about great art and was proud of myself for that. Kathy and I had visited quite a few art museums before Italy: The National Gallery in London, The Louvre in Paris and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The big thing about Florence was the statue of David by Michelangelo in the Galleria dell’Accademia.
So after a day or so wandering the streets lined with cafes and eating full course meals, which in those days, unbelievably, cost $1.00 including wine and tip, we set out to see the most famous statue in the world. After entering the museum it was a short walk to a rotunda like room where David lived.
I had seen pictures many times but was totally unprepared for the absolute grandiosity of the real thing. I felt like an ant looking up at this spectacular nude Adonis on a pedestal. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by lightheadedness and felt like I was going to faint. My heart was pounding it took a great will to gain control and continue on to see the rest of the museum.
Over the years I saw the statute a few more times but didn't have the same reaction. Many years after that first encounter I happened by chance to read an article about the very emotions and physical reactions I had experienced. There is apparently a psychosomatic illness called the Florence Syndrome It was documented by the 19th Century French Writer Stendahl and is also called Stendahl syndrome. The symptoms are rapid heart beat, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations in people who are exposed to extraordinary works of art. “Wow,” I thought, “That's what happened to me those many years ago.”
Since then I have seen countless great works of art all over the world, but that was my only experience of being overcome by Florence syndrome.