Il bel far niente

Sometimes it takes one writer to coax another out of hibernation. Or at least that was the case for me.

The experience of re-introducing myself to my keyboard and the blank “add new post” page that has been calling my name came about because I decided one fine afternoon to re-introduce myself to the witty, colorful language of Elizabeth Gilbert. The reviews on the inside cover of Eat, Pray, Love are spot on–Gilbert is an “irresistible narrator,” “everything you would love in a tour guide” and just so darn down-to-earth that it’s hard not to take her words–and her lessons–at face value. Using colorful phrases like “as that old country-western song out of Texas goes, “I’ve been screwed and sued and tattooed...” Elizabeth Gilbert is that friend you wish you could take everywhere with you, echoing your sub-conscious and telling you, why yes, that dress does make you look 10 years older than you are, when you really just need an honest opinion–and she comes all wrapped up in a $15 paperback book. Not a bad deal. Regardless, what’s really important–and what I reflect on at this most auspicious time of year (i.e. the beginning of a new school year)– is Gilbert’s lesson on Il bel far niente, or “the beauty of doing nothing.”

In fact, this phrase epitomizes perfectly the annual beach trip that our family takes with  friends almost every summer that we’re all back together in Virginia. This summer it was back to an old haunt–Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Even though we’ve changed over the years, luckily it’s still as beautiful as ever :)

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A couple of things happened at the beach:

The twins turned 20 :)

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…and cooked (kind of). Inesha got creative with her pancakes.

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We spent time at the beach and, of course, didn’t miss our opportunity to jet ski!

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We even picked up some new music from the guys–this one has been on replay in the Premaratne house :)

All in all, between plenty of Sri Lankan food, a ladies’ afternoon out to the nail salon, lots of laughs, and jokes good and bad, the beach is always a great place to round out the summer and I’ll always relish the time we have there.

Now, I realize that my Italian vocabulary is pretty much limited to “gelato,” but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate its beauty nor the fact that it is as poetic as they come. And this phrase–‘the beauty of doing nothing‘–is one that I count among the many gifts that Italian has given the world. For all practical purposes, here’s what I think it’s trying to tell us (thankfully, I can relay this in English): doing nothing really is something after all. And we owe it to ourselves to try it once in a while. Goodbye, Summer 2013! Onwards to Junior Year….!

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