On Top of the World

by Joelle

“…E mentre sono qui, se potessi controllare il tempo, se potessi dare una direzione al vento …Prova con un mazzo di rose ”

… And while I am here, I if could control time, if I could give a direction to the wind… Try with a bunch of roses ” – Pino Daniele – Scirocco D Africa

Monte Solaro is the highest part of Capri, towering 589 meters above sea level, and boasting a 360° panorama of the island of Capri. It’s my last day at the Capri Palace Spa, I decide to have a “quick visit” at nearby mountain and come back to the hotel, as I have the Measurement of energy expenditure still attached to my arm and I am still a little tired.

As soon as I pay for my ticket, I realize before I have any time to change my mind that I am about to be seated into an individual chair lift where an old Italian man tells me– “Non aver Paura” (Don’t be scared) and only after I am already sitting and aloft I answer : “Ho Paura” (I am scared). I’m on my way to the top of this famous Italian mountain.

I realize that despite being the courageous world traveler that I am, I have always been afraid of heights.

My camera quickly finds the safest place in my pocket. This is the reason why you will not see pretty pictures of the marvelous landscape at my back. The only thing I can think of at this moment, is to try to look up because this is what you are supposed to do in life.

Suddenly, I become a philosopher, a spiritualist, an analyst, a Bacardi addict, a Zen Master and even Mohamed, personifying whoever I need to be, in order to survive this moment and arrive safely at the top of this mountain Belvedere.

The biometric device on my arm must certainly be registering some extra heart beats from my poor heart which is remembering against it’s will childhood traumas of abandonment, fears of being dropped dead on the floor by my mother, being hurt and abused by humans that I have loved and trusted, the obscure financial world crises with a consequence of monetary uncertainty due to possible lack of sponsorship for my review.

I suddenly visualize in the bushes, myself constrained doing nothing better than eat junk food gaining all the extra weight I proudly lost at the Spa and look horrible in front of a disapproving mirror facing a useless human being.

After 12 minutes that felt like 12 hours (or a little more) I have finally arrived. I rush to the Canzone del Cielo bar and drink a glass of Aqua Minerale. The bar is part of a small restaurant built in the fifties at the ruins of the Fortino di Bruto (Brutus’ small fort) which itself was built at the beginning of the 18th century during a period of battles between the English and the French.

I finally catch my breath, my mind pauses for a while and the battles of my own heart lift a temporary white flag. Distracted by the beauty of the silent and imposing landscape In the distance I can identify the mountains of Calabria, the Pennine Alps, the Amalfi coast, the Sorrentine peninsula, the Gulf of Naples, and the islands of Procida and Ischia.

Monte Solaro is also called âAcchiappanuvole (cloud catcher) after the thick blanket of fog that forms around the summit, especially at dawn, when the thermal difference between the sea and the rock is accentuated.

During the night as the temperature drops, the warmer, damper sea air condenses in a dense mist on the ground.Where its path is obstructed, the vapors rise upwards generating a characteristic crown of clouds. This phenomenon also occurs in the evening, especially in the Autumn.

The wind clears away parts of cloud, randomly revealing various segments of the beautiful island landscape below. And like in a miracle, the clouds of my thoughts in my mind are also caught allowing me to breathe safely a relieving sensation of being suspended floating in a welcoming void completely free from past, present and future ghosts as at this moment there none around.

The descent is much, much easier, and with my new found courage, I manage to catch a few photographic shoots with my camera of what I probably missed on the ride up .

Flying back home from Napoli to New York, especially following the wonderful enriching detoxicating experience in Capri Hotel & Spa, I will have time to meditate about my life and recall the Mount Solaro“episode” that apparently balanced so much my unconscious stability.

But in the strenuous flight, we are held hostage by wind turbulence, falling oxygen masks, children throwing up everywhere, my silent vows with repetitious donations to religious Jewish charities in order to arrive home alive. All those unpleasant events are due to the imminent hurricanes in the region and who knows what other universal or personal premonitions of the actual social instability and financial world crash. During the repeated course of events, I decide to take action and control my own fears and life anxieties as soon as I step on American soil.

It’s a bright blue sky and sunny day in Manhattan. After two days sleep, I am ready and buy myself a ticket to the Rockfeller Center Plaza tower :  The “On Top Of The Rock Observatory” opended two years ago and is sponsored by Swarovski Crystal. The girl that sells my ticket to the high-speed elevator asks me, “excuse me miss… what a nice perfume you are using… where is it from? ” Nervously I answer, ” In Anacapri, not here. I am sorry!” She then insists, oblivious to the long line of impatient tourists behind me wanting to climb to the top of the world. “Can I buy it in New York? Not even online?”

I suddenly realize, Americans, especially New Yorker,s have access to everything they desire all at once!  With the globalized Internet, market consumer competition, new world-wide communication technologies and sustainable energy know-how, anyone can reach to the next level and obtain what is desired.

It’s just about asking for it and finding the passion in what’s is being done, created, invented, reaching slowly step by step into the next level and higher goals.

“Can I have your email address? Yes, of course, you can buy it on-line. Check out my next newsletter, “Capri Olympus ” and you’ll find what you are looking for in a small shop that is near a Mountain called Solaro, and they have an email address, and by the way tell them I said hello! ” – I answer to the smiley lady who will not stop thanking me for the simple information I provided.

The high-speed elevator to the sky took exactly one minute to ascend 70 floors, and I felt safe. Overlooking the crystal-clear breath taking 360 degree view of New York City from the heart of Midtown Manhattan, is something you must do before you die. I then imagine how John D. Rockefellerâ’ s vision for his center never wavered at the time where the country was facing economic catastrophe and the world was between two wars.

The Rockefeller Center and the observation deck were his and the thousands of laborers that build the buildings including Rockefeller Plaza, legacy proudly offered as a gift to Manhattan by opening the deck s doors for the world to see Manhattan the way he imagined it – a place for locals and visitors to marvel at the city he loved.

Experiencing with beatitude the gentle breeze over my thoughts my mind now like in a flying carpet reaches the Anacapri people who like Rockerfeller taught me examples of courage, soul searching, hard work values and faith in almost impossible visions, always respecting their legacy and historical roots.

Even during these tormented times, life goes on. New and better solutions will be proactively created and this my friends is all that is needed to reach to what I like to call, the top of the world!

Have a safe journey!


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