Take a moment and rest your legs, have a sip of water or better yet a cup of tea. Lean back and enjoy a sliver of shade. Watch the cat stretch against the stone wall. Notice the pattern the cobblestones make below your feet. Listen to distant conversations without following the meaning. img_0274Traveling in Istria, northern Croatia this summer, I encountered these lovely spots peppered all over hill towns. They called to me, “Come take a break, there’s no rush. You’re hot and have been walking so far.” So I sat. Again and again. Then I saw the pattern. There was a spot to sit and rest in some way or another, in front of almost every house, big or small. In the same way that we here in Marin have front yards or mailboxes. But these benches were not necessarily private – they were an invitation to anyone passing to sit for a moment. And they all shared several simple ingredients – a potted plant or tree, a bench and a cushion.


A cool bench on a hot day in Grosjan, Croatia

So I took that feeling home with me: why not take a moment to sit for a spell and invite others to do the same?

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