Limbo or Launchpad?

How liminal space theory and a dash of Renaissance wisdom can help when your life is between acts.

Fiona Cameron Lister
12 min readAug 24, 2021

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Florence, Tuscany Image: ELG21 Pixabay

Throbbing with life 24/7, Piazza Santo Spirito, in Florence’s achingly cool Oltrarno district, has been a meeting place since medieval times. Edged with gasp-inducing 15th and 16th-century buildings (including Palazzo Guadagni, on whose chilly candlelit balcony my chaplain husband, wearing army dress uniform, proposed) it is dominated by a Renaissance church designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the guy who put the dome in (or should that be on) the Duomo, Florence’s iconic cathedral.

It is the last place on earth you would expect to see a porcupine.

But there it was, clicking and skipping its way past 500-year-old carved wooden doors without a care in the world. It was all alone in the piazza, apart from the lucky resident who filmed the night footage on his cellphone.

You know what’s coming. This anachronistic event happened during the early days of the pandemic when roads and skies emptied, and nature moved in as we moved out. As well as our stripy-quilled friend’s antics, hares frolicked in Milan’s parks, deer grazed on Sardinia’s golf courses and shoals of silver fish shimmered and swerved in Venice’s canals.

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Fiona Cameron Lister

Experienced British writer/editor/mentor in Italy | MWC semi-finalist| Loves words, history, humour, unusual subjects| Contact: fcameronlister@gmail.com