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The Gift of Awe in Italy

On my recent trip to Tuscany, Italy I was touched by a moment of complete and total awe.  It did not come in the form of frescoes, cathedrals, sculptures, renaissance art nor the picturesque countryside that Tuscany is so famous for.  It instead came in the tiny form of an insect with a 5 inch wingspan.  It  hovered very much like a hummingbird from flower to flower and made that same fan like sound with its wings fluttering so quickly.  Its proboscis (feeding tube) curled up and then straight out like a New Year’s Eve blowout tube when it went to drink up the nectar of the flowers.  I watched in total and complete fascination.  After numerous attempts, I finally was able to capture the picture you see here.

The Gift of Wonder in the Everyday

When I asked the owner of the guest house we were staying at what this fascinating creature was, I was shocked with her response.  She didn’t know.  She had lived there since 2008 but had no idea what the name of the creature was and had no interest in knowing.  Her response was one that made me realize how important it is not to get jaded by “everyday” occurrences and instead look at each day with wide eyed wonder and fascination.


As synchronicity would have it, when I saw this insect, I was also reading a book by Dr. Barbara De Angelis called Soul Shifts. One part of the book talks about the importance of allowing yourself to be awestruck.  She stated that researchers at Stanford University had recently published an article about the value of experiencing awe.  It is seeing and experiencing something with your heart and soul, and not just your mind.  Their conclusions were, “Regular exposure to awe actually transforms us.”  She suggests that to cultivate awe in our lives that we need to “practice seeing things with eyes not jaded by our habitual exposure to life’s wonders; with a heart not numbed to the miraculous just because it’s always around us; and with our soul wide open, inviting everything to vibrationally vanquish us, embrace us, and thrill us.”

Researching the Identity

Upon my return to Canada, I researched this insect and found out that it is called an Italian Hawk Moth. It commonly gets confused as a member of the Hummingbird family.  In digging more in my research, I also discovered that these moths are considered to be a good omen in Italy and Malta. This is because a swarm of them were observed crossing the English Channel towards England on the day of the D-Day landings in 1944.  What an awesome thing to discover.

That gift of awe and insight given to me by that tiny Italian moth will stay with me forever.  It has made me realize how much I take for granted and how important it is to allow awe into my life each and every day.  Here is to each and every one of us exercising our “awe” muscles each and every day.

13 thoughts on “The Gift of Awe in Italy”

  1. Susanne this was a wonderful read. Thank you for sharing. I agree that some of us can forget to find joy, wonder and awe in everyday things. What a great reminder for all of us to not take things for granted and to always be inquisitive.

    1. Thank you Helen for your encouraging words. 😉 I always love how you take the time to capture the wonderful pictures in the clouds with all the magic that they share. Thank you for being you. 😉

  2. I love this post Sus. To observe all life’s treasures with an open heart and open mind is such a gift. I’m awed every day and as you know keep my eyes and ears open for everything going on around me. What a fascinating moth to witness. And of course you did. Love you xoxox

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