It was a quiet and hot afternoon. I rounded the corner of the old church to see this beautiful statue in the garden surrounded by a wrought iron fence covered with run away ivy. I might have just walked passed it and not seen it but a call from an unfamiliar bird made me stop to look into the overgrown garden to see if I could find the mysterious creature and there I saw the beautiful female statue surrounded by wild roses.
I found a gate, slightly ajar, thankfully as it was now rusted and frozen in position. I had brought my lunch in my backpack and since it was almost 1’oclock I searched for a bench and found one close to the statue and sat down. I laid out the large yellow napkin I use for a table cloth beside me and brought out the porchetta sandwich I purchase at the market this morning. A ripe pear, a split of prosecco, and tiny carrots made up my midday respite and looked very good after my morning hike. As I opened the prosecco and poured it into my folding glass I swore I saw the statue move. No, it must be a shadow of a bush moved by the wind.
The porchetta sandwich was delicious and I stared at the statue wondering whom she represented. She didn’t have wings so she wasn't an angel. But she might she been an angel in real life, a benefactor to the church or perhaps some scholarly woman of letters admired by those who have read her. Perhaps she was the lead soloist in the church choir and on her demise a statue was dedicated. I closed my eyes and let the warm sun shine on my face.
After dusting off the crumbs of my sandwich for the birds I walked over to the statue to get a closer look. In her right hand is a bouquet of flowers. They look like wild violets. I can almost smell them. I look around to see if some are growing in this garden but I don’t see any. I look at her eyes and they are flat without eyelids and look blind.
At the base of the statue I see some writing carved into the marble, and I dust off dried moss so that I can read the inscription better. My pocket Italian phrase book helps but this is what it says “In honor of Signoria Charlotta Pagani, the flower lady of Montefalco, from the grateful people of the village. Born 1925 Died 1945 In the Battle of Terni ” She must have gone to the big market in Terni to buy the flowers for her little shop in Monetfalco, when the allies hit the munitions factory. She is now at peace in this quiet garden and I honor her. As I walk away I can still smell wild violets in the air.
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