February 10, 2019

The medici touch

“Just keep breathing.” I whispered to myself.
“Just keep breathing, and raising your knees one by one.”

I could no longer remember just how many steps the curly-haired guide had mentioned, down there on the streets.
How many we’d have to climb to reach the top of this timeless tower.

What he didn’t mention was that each step was just a tad more steep – and narrow – than your average stair at home.
And each few steps took us into a new spiral, which made my head spin… until I’d lost count anyway.

Above and below me I could hear the wheezing and coughing of those who had clearly paid for an adventure bigger than their hopefulness.

But inevitably, we clambered, exhausted and jubilant, into Italy’s October brightness.
Then shuffled anti-clockwise around the small balcony atop this huge, stunning, loudly visible, red-tiled dome.

Duomo di Firenze. Formally Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Flore.
The Cathedral of Florence. The Cathedral of Saint Mary of The Flower.
A work of architectural genius, taking 140 years to complete.

And then we could see it.
Spread out below us, this beautiful, historic birthplace of Renaissance art and science.
Endowed and flaunted by jealous dynasties like the Medici’s.

Or, ‘Florence’ to us foreigners.

Dotted with palaces, proclaiming wealth and power, well-stroked egos and fiery imagination and rivalries…
Narrow paved streets radiating from the glory of il Duomo…
Countless mortal stories of triumph and tragedy, opulence, oppression and ordinariness… played out across century upon century.

And me, just a passing wisp of breath and awe.
My tiny, inquisitive life hardly a blink in the rolling babble of this glorious, famed city.

Which makes me wonder about the furious strivings of our everyday business.

Will they matter just a few years from now?
Or can we leave a mark on the comings and goings of humanity?

What we do in our offices and our meetings and our technology.
Will it leave behind a legacy worth mentioning?
Something that others will gaze at, point to, with wonder and gratitude.
A few tiny years from now.

I wonder…
What’s the glorious legacy you’re leaving on the community around you…
Through the instrument of your business?