In previous posts, I have compared cities in which I’ve lived to lovers. (e.g., New York, and Austin).
Venice, in contrast, is the city that has had many lovers. After being one of his many lovers, for a brief time this past December, I wanted to keep my experience a secret; otherwise, the other lovers would come forward with their own experiences, and dilute my own exuberance and passion. Some lovers you date, wondering if perhaps you could make a long-term go of it, while others you regret before making it out the door. Then, there are the Venice lovers, who you take, as is, when you can, with no strings attached.
He is not just about the love between lovers, but the lovers of life—all things passionate, sensual, and beautiful. The rough stone curves of the bridge soften in late autumn light, as their erotic arches reflect in the canals. This is not the landscape for a map imposing the previous conquests of those before you; wander instead with the adventurer’s spirit and you will not be disappointed.
Venice is an active lover in the summer, with one-night stands and seasonal flings. But, I suspect, his passion emerges most tenderly in those months of late autumn, when the waning, muted light casts a more flattering glow.
Thirst drove me down to the water
where I drank the moon’s reflection.
Rumi, (tr. by Coleman Barks)
Our first encounter, under a dark, cloudy sky, brought the smell of the cold salty lagoon and a promise of redemption. Venice has seen it all and would forgive all that has or would happen. One finds redemption not in the waterways--his external charm-- but in his secret personality within the unnamed alleys, passageways, bridges, and courtyards. As the darkness descends and the shadows hide the obvious exits, one must instead trust instinct for guidance. There are no wrong turns. I am exactly where I need to be.
Much has been written about Venice, and much more will come. What intrigues surpasses the food, the people, and the history. The Venetians left their mark throughout the Mediterranean in Athens, Cyprus, and Croatia. By all outward appearances, this city embraces the Merchant of Venice with the flair of Mardi Gras. It is the city of contrasts, and the city that speaks to the mystery of love-- sensual, timeless, and uncertain.
In the early morning fog, I navigate the promenade, caressed, lured, and soothed by the gentle fog.
Through the fog, the light distorts a fountain, flower, bacari, and cobblestone streets, which take on different shapes, teasing my eyes (and brain). The mind always searches to make sense of everything. That is not necessary here.
How many have walked before me, some with reverence, some without...
While love, like the fog, just moves on…
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
All photos by Nicole D. Mignone. 2016. All Rights Reserved.