Thank You, Attilio Banca


“I am blessed.”

That was the conclusion I came to at the end of a day that started at 5 a.m. with no cream for my coffee, proceeded by back-to-back appointments with anxious clients, an infinite To-Do list, and a jumble of phone calls and emails to sort through.

But there I was, ten hours later, walking. Walking in short sleeves, mind you, on the most gorgeous summer day to ever eavesdrop into April!

The sky was blue, the birds were in symphony, and an osprey couple surveyed their new nest. A breeze blew in from the south shepherding smells of the sea and the calls of gulls. Four teenage boys were diving off a bridge into high-tide water in a surreal sort of Huck-Finnian moment.

There was all of that and me, swinging back and forth on a makeshift swing hanging from winter-bare branches in a clearing overlooking a tidal marsh and Long Island Sound.

A plaque nearby noted that the marsh was donated in memory of Attilio J. Banca.

According to a Hartford Courant article, more than 90 years ago, young Attilio met a World War I veteran who was convalescing at a home there in Stony Creek. Attilio and Jules Andre Smith, an artist, author and architect, became fast friends. They built an art studio and gallery near the marsh, which Attilio ran for many years.

I have no doubt that Attilio witnessed similar days. Perhaps even he leisurely swung on a swing in a clearing overlooking this same marsh — letting his worries be carried north with the wind.

I have no doubt he, like I, could make his way home then, knowing “I am blessed.”

• • •

• • •

* “Our Marshes Are Dying – Sea Change: On Connecticut’s Shore, A Search For Clues To Shrinking Coastal Wetlands, by DAVID K. FUNKHOUSER; The Hartford Courant, July 22, 2007.

©2010, Jennifer Payne

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