It was sunny today and the skies were clear but the air was very cool. Still, it seemed like a good day to go back to Oropa and visit the Madonna whom Pier Giorgio loved so much. It was his routine to go and pray at the feet of the Brown Madonna in the old sanctuary. Now, to the left of the main altar, there is a side chapel which has a large painting of him hanging on the wall.
Walking toward the back of the sanctuary, I came upon the confession room and heard voices coming from one of the confessionals. Just then, the door opened, a woman came out, and then the priest opened his door and asked if I wanted to go to confession. Well, yes, I told him, but in Italian? He thought I spoke well enough to do it and so I did. That was a first for me. Isn’t it amazing how the grace of that sacrament can so beautifully transcend the language barrier? I considered that experience a gift from Pier Giorgio. Afterward, I attended Mass and then walked the 10 kilometers or so back to Pollone. Pier Giorgio used to walk both directions! The view is spectacular all along the way and there is hardly a spot where you don’t want to take a picture. I enjoyed seeing the mucche – the giant cows that graze in the mountains all summer long and then are brought back down right through town. They wear enormous bells so you can always hear them wherever they are. As I got closer to Pollone, I managed to fill one of my pockets with chestnuts that had fallen on the ground. The cook here was wanting them the other day and so I was happy to return home with a few. Finally, walking past a rose-lined fence, I took time to stop and smell a gorgeous red one. The perfect ending to a perfect day. ///cmw