May the Stars of Possibility Light Your Way

Stars in Treviso, Italywise

My extraordinary artistic mother lit the fuse of my imagination.

My brilliant engineering father taught me how to construct a plan and a path towards making something happen.

I am indeed fortunate that such beautifully intertwined influences (and gene pools) came together to create this being called Jed Smith (and my two enormously talented sisters). Though Liz and Ed already have taken flight from this earthly realm, they remain the two brightest stars illuminating my path and the journey towards an endless world of possibility.

Last evening, a stroll through the magically lit streets and alleyways of Treviso prompted this realization. I was overcome with gratitude, and my subsequent meanderings through the city left me contemplating the following questions:

Just who and what are the numerous stars that illuminate your path?

And, guess what? I realized I am blessed to have a path full of stars urging me forward. I have the best spouse, family and friends a man could hope for. They love, accept and encourage me in spite of my many imperfections. They talk me off the ledge when I am anxious or discouraged.

And, Italy has scattered more stars at my feet – in the way of unexpected adventures, extraordinary art, stunning beauty, and a rich culture of complexity and constant surprises. Italy continues to gently slap my face to wake me up to the moment that is right in front of me. It reminds me to not to be lost in some future imagined ideal state, or obsessively looking over my shoulder at the past with regret.

What things are in your path that don’t illuminate your way? What things are eclipsing the world of possibility?

As we all head into another year, I believe this is an equally important question. It speaks to becoming aware of who and what isn’t working in your life and the importance of editing out those people and things. Taking this inquiry seriously for me means being like one of those people on the highway cleanup crew, going along and spearing and removing the things that are littering the road. If you’re like me, cleaning up trash can be a bother. And, we can feel guilty about jettisoning the people and things that aren’t feeding our souls. I, all too often, put it off, saying I’ll deal with it later. But, life is right here and right now, and who really knows how much of a “later” each of us has?

My dream and my path has been building a life in Italy. But, dreams are dreams, wherever they lead. I hope, by sharing my story and my journey I can, in some small measure, help fuel the passion of your own unique pursuits and vision. I believe the world plays tricks with our minds and tries to convince us that we are small, separate and alone – when, in fact, the universe is within each of us and we are connected in unimaginable ways. In closing, I leave you with this quote from the late, great Carl Sagan.

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”
― Carl Sagan

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By |2016-12-27T18:29:34+01:00December 27th, 2016|My Life in Italy, Personal musings, Reflections on the Journey|20 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Marion December 23, 2017 at 2:51 am - Reply

    Spinning Away
    Brian Eno & John Cale

    Produced by John Cale & Brian Eno about 1990 and covered by Sugar Ray later. Sometimes I don’t bother trying to understand Eno’s lyrics, but I looked at these and saw how it was about sketching the night sky at Arles and being overwhelmed. Is it Eno sketching, or an attempt to get into Vincent’s mind? It is not the type tune that I find compelling, but I like these lyrics. Marion

    Spinning Away Lyrics

    Up on a hill, as the day dissolves
    With my pencil turning moments into line
    High above in the violet sky
    A silent silver plane – it draws a golden chain

    One by one, all the stars appear
    As the great winds of the planet spiral in
    Spinning away, like the night sky at Arles
    In the million insect storm, the constellations form

    On a hill, under a raven sky
    I have no idea exactly what I’ve drawn
    Some kind of change, some kind of spinning away
    With every single line moving further out in time

    And now as the pale moon rides (in the stars)
    Her form in my pale blue lines (in the stars)
    And there, as the world rolls round (in the stars)
    I draw, but the lines move round (in the stars)
    There, as the great wheels blaze (in the stars)
    I draw, but my drawing fades (in the stars)
    And now, as the old sun dies (in the stars)
    I draw, and the four winds sigh (in the stars)

    I still draw from the experiences as an Art teacher and as a Mother of my friend.

    • Jed December 25, 2017 at 9:50 am - Reply

      Love these lyrics, Marion. Thank you for sharing and thank you for remembering Mamma Liz. Buon Natale, my friend!

      • Marion December 25, 2017 at 3:24 pm - Reply

        just needed to read closer. It must be Eno sketching and it says, “like the night sky at Arles” Brian Eno started as a painter in College and, to the best of my knowledge never quit painting. He and a colleague created a deck of cards they called Oblique Strategies with instructions. He would shuffle and use them like Tarot cards for direction to pull out a stale time in creating.

        • Jed December 26, 2017 at 11:16 am - Reply

          All ways, I believe, of creating an opening for truth to speak to us…

  2. Angie February 5, 2017 at 4:47 am - Reply

    Salve Jed…I discovered your blog through Manu.
    I also have a love affair with Italy. My first visit was
    July 2015, my 2 cousins and I went to meet
    Relatives from my mothers side who found us
    through the internet (an amazing story) My great
    great Grandfather was from Cianciana, Sicily and moved
    to Ohio in 1913 to work in the coal mines, he brouht
    His oldest son Angelo who eventually got married
    and had 8 children which we are descendants of.
    Our family in Sicily always wondered what happened
    to Angelo in the States. Well, our cousin Enza who now
    lives in Lake Como found her American cousins researching
    On the web, she has made a facebook page so all the
    Realativez from Italy and the states have a place to get to
    Know each other. Our first trip was to Como and we also
    flew to Sicily so they could show us Cianciana and we got
    to see where are g grandfather Paolo lived. It was EPIC!! I went back last july again and went to Venice, Floence, Rome,
    Milan. Italy has stolen my heart! Guess what? I already have
    My ticket bought for this June. More of the american
    realatives (8 of us this time) want to meet our newly found
    family. We are going to Cianciana again but will be spending
    A couple nights in Sciacca. I am loving your blog and reading
    about your adventures, how amazing that you moved there,
    I am so jealous! Sorry for being so long winded but im very
    passionate about all things Italian!!?

    • Jed February 5, 2017 at 11:50 am - Reply

      Salve Angie, I was delighted to received your comments, and to read your incredible story of the detective work and the eventual reconnecting with your roots. Your experience speaks to what I find difficult to articulate – and that’s how the process of coming to Italy and peeling back layer upon layer just makes you fall more in love. For me, Venice is the epitome of this. As many times as I go there I am always discovering something new, and I feel as though the city will never completely reveal herself to me – thus, making it a lifetime of discover. I’m so glad you like the blog, and I hope it will continue to feed your passion for all things Italian! Jed

  3. Nancy January 5, 2017 at 1:36 am - Reply

    Both your parents were truly stars. They were as talented and loving as they were hard working. They served their community, their friends, and family with fervor and Joy. You and your sisters were fortunate to have their stars lighting your paths. Hope this year brings good health, adventures, happiness, peace, and comfort.

    • Jed January 5, 2017 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks Nancy, I’m so glad you knew Liz and Ed, and how they brought their talents to the world! I’m so happy you and I remain in contact, and I wish the best of everything in 2017. Jed

  4. Novelia December 31, 2016 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Jed with your refections you give a guiding light. They are allways deep and makes anybody that reads you just take some time to enjoy your thoughts. When I first red about you I felt that I was conctacting a positve person and for me was a must to get to know you. Everything you write , about yourself, your family, your trips , your life in general has a halo of positivity, you are able to convey confidence and look at life in the bright side. Happy New Year, Novelia.

    • Jed December 31, 2016 at 5:00 pm - Reply

      Novelia, You have been one of my biggest blessings this year. I am so happy you and Peppe came into my life. You have the biggest heart and the biggest embrace. Your passion for Sulmona and Abruzzo is infectious. I believe we attract the same kind of energy we put out into the world, and the people who have come into your world are a testament to your incredible goodness and kindness. I look forward to sharing more adventures in the year ahead. Un bacioni, Jed

  5. Anita December 28, 2016 at 4:24 am - Reply

    Ciao Jed, 3 words lovely,lovely…V..vonderful! Yes,your parents gave you the gift that keeps giving … A grand gift to us all ! Grazie dear friend ! Anita

    • Jed December 28, 2016 at 8:51 am - Reply

      Ciao Anita, Thank you so much! Sending you all my best…Jed

  6. David collins December 27, 2016 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Would you believe we live in Via Stella and when we found our casa we felt our stelle were aligned. Our lovely vendor gave us a key ring with a star in the middle as a casa warming gift! Somethings are meant to be but you have to make your path as well of course. We feel we have been blessed in making our life in Italy. I wish you had been with us today as we took a drive through the beautiful Parco Maiella. The light this afternoon was wonderful, a photographers dream with bright sunshine on the snow capped peaks. You are destined to return to us Jed and we will certainly take you on this magnificent trip when you return. Our very best regards for the year ahead. We hope it’s your best yet!

    • Jed December 27, 2016 at 6:26 pm - Reply

      Ciao my friend! I love that you guys live on Via Stella and stars have been an important part of your Italian life. I can only imagine the star-filled nights in Abruzzo. Your drive today sounds heavenly. Please share photos! Yes, I am destined to return to Sulmona. I’ve already booked accommodations for Easter and Novelia has promised to help strategize getting a prime spot for taking photos. Have a safe journey back to Australia, and stay in touch while you’re there. I so look forward to seeing you and Sharyn when you return. Best wishes for a wonderful New Year!

  7. Linda Dini Jenkins December 27, 2016 at 5:17 pm - Reply


    Another spot-on perfect commentary! I am having a little trouble finding my words right now (not good for a writer) but you have said what I want to say so eloquently.

    With great hopes for 2017, looking forward to two trips to Italy and rekindling friendships, and as always, being startled to life by new experiences in our beloved adpoted home.

    All the best for a Buon Capodanno . . .


    • Jed December 27, 2016 at 6:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks Linda! I always love hearing from you, and thank you, as always, for your supportive words. I hope I will see you in 2017 and share an adventure, or two, together! Buone feste!

  8. Tammy December 27, 2016 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Buon Natale a te e Simone. Vi auguro un 2017 pieno di felicità. Alla prossima!

    • Jed December 27, 2016 at 6:19 pm - Reply

      Altrettanto dear Tammy! Siamo in attesa del tuo ritorno! Buone feste cara!

  9. Chip Meeks December 27, 2016 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Thanks Jed! I trust that you had a great Christmas and will have a super New Year in 2017 and that the stardust will illuminate paths for you to enjoy this coming year!Take care!

    • Jed December 27, 2016 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      Grazie Chip! I hope you are having a great holiday as well. May the year ahead continue you to bring you all the things that give you the most joy. Jed

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