“Love, which quickly arrests the gentle heart,
Seized him with my beautiful form
That was taken from me, in a manner which still grieves me.
Love, which pardons no beloved from loving,
took me so strongly with delight in him
That, as you see, it still abandons me not…”
Dante Alighieri, Inferno
(Santa Maria Nuova / Cortona, Italy / Julie Cook / 2007)
Our hearts, thoughts and prayers reach across the oceans and lands to the people of Italy…
especially those hardest hit by Wednesday’s early morning quakes centered in the regions of Umbria, Lazio and Le Marche.
Italy is an ancient land with a rich and storied past that is clearly evident today—
For all one must do is to look at the land, the ancient architecture and to the
warm faces of her loving people.
From its varied geography—
from the hilltop fortified towns to the colorful villas by the sea…
Italy is both mountainous, think Alps and Apennine, as well as coastal as it is surround by
the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, the Tyrrhenian, and the Ionian seas.
The villages, towns and cities are a rich mix of the centuries of man’s very existence.
From the Caesars to the Fashion runways,
from the birth of Christianity to her decadent gastronomic delights…
Italy herself is so much a part of the history of mankind.
We rejoice when Italy is at her best and we mourn when tragedy strikes….
(one of the many alley ways, nook and crannies filling this country of mazes / Cortona, Italy / Julie Cook / 2007)
(Assisi, Italy / Julie Cook / 2007)
With the past weaving itself into the present, upon observation, it is not difficult for the casual observer to understand how easy it is for a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, to have devastating results…
(part of the roof line of Assisi, Italy / Julie Cook / 2007)
(Looking across Rome / Julie Cook / 2007)
As Italy percolates upwards from her past, with layers upon layers, being built upon itself….
Even the clay tiles from region to region offer a glimpse to the volcanic soil composition…
as some area tiles offer rich red colors while other regions are full lot more earthy brown tones….
Italy is home to both dormant and active volcanoes…
Just more evidence of the constantly changing and ever evolving ground beneath the feet of both
her myriad sea of tourists and her enchanting residents….
Here is a small offering from the BBC explaining why Italy is so prone to earthquakes…
Why is Italy at risk of earthquakes?
By Jonathan Amos
Quakes are an ever-present danger for those who live along the Apennine mountain range in Italy.
Through the centuries thousands have died as a result of tremors equal to, or not much bigger than,
the event that struck in the early hours of Wednesday.
The modern response, thankfully, has been more robust building and better preparation.
Mediterranean seismicity is driven by the great collision between the African and Eurasian tectonic plates; but when it comes down to the specifics of this latest quake, the details are far more complicated.
The Tyrrhenian Basin, or Sea, which lies to the west of Italy,
between the mainland and Sardinia/Corsica, is slowly opening up.
Scientists say this is contributing to extension, or “pull-apart”, along the Apennines.
This stress is compounded by movement in the east, in the Adriatic.
The result is a major fault system that runs the length of the mountain range with
a series of smaller faults that fan off to the sides.
The foundations of cities like Perugia and L’Aquila stand on top of it all.
(excerpt from the BBC)
(images of and beyond Assisi / Julie Cook / 2007)
May we pray for those who now find themselves without home, without city, without family,
without hope….may we be their hope….
From one man he made all the nations,
that they should inhabit the whole earth;
and he marked out their appointed times in history
and the boundaries of their lands.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”