Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Running Log: Saturday in the Astounding Beauty of Venice

It’s an ironic, but unsurprising phenomenon of the human experience that it’s so difficult to have a good time when we’re trying to.  Joy is hard to schedule, and often comes at the least likely of times and places.  Beauty hides in plain sight.  And awe dissolves through our fingers the very moment we try to examine it.  Never is a good time more elusive than on a well-planned vacation.

These realities all function as a testament to the effortless beauty contained in Venice.  Rarely have I floated through a city with such ease and obvious puppy love. 

My running log of one Saturday in Venice:
11:00AM – Early start to the day, after breakfast and a quick conversation with E about the meaning of everything.
11:20AM – First gelato of the day for Lady E, 5th of the trip (trip has been 36 hours at this point).

12:00PM – Arrive at Piazza San Marco, probably the city’s best known landmark, and a place of such breath-taking grandiosity that I jot down:  “Piazza S. Marco – could cry.”
...Facing the impossibility of capturing the scale in words, 19th Century writer Ruskin starts by describing the spires on the Basilica San Marco: "The crests of the arches break into a marble foam and toss themselves into the blue sky in flashes and wreaths of sculpted spray." iron sculpture depicting a lion, man + woman, and pile of clothing.  And not far, live pigeons perch on a lamppost blurring reality as they appear motionless and part of the structure.

2:15PM – wandering through random alleys we stumble upon a nondescript art exhibit, seemingly modest, but containing 3 floors of works, including a floor devoted to Baryshnikov’s dancers. 

The artist abandoned his attempts to capture dancers, before his described epiphany:

“For two decades I used a conventional 35mm camera and practiced traditional landscapes, portraits and travel shots in primarily black and white. I made a point of rejecting obvious opportunities to photograph dance, thinking the results were boring and unnecessary. Then…I discovered that abandoning the crystalline image in favor of blurred edges and amorphous figures approximates the excitement of dance in performances.

…So it was possible.”

3:30PM – Continuing the art theme, we bought this postcard of a cat dressed as a gondolier. 
4:00PM - Highlight of the trip and literally the only thing in 4 months that’s inspired me to give money to street performers: 3 kids performed a mock sword fight, flawlessly portraying actual medieval swordplay. 

Suspension of disbelief suffered significantly when the third performer wandered onto the battlefield with an ice cream cone...
7:45PM - We end Saturday the way we did the Friday before it, and the Sunday after that: on the docks of San Marco with Prosecco and Pizza. 
...A violinist’s version of 'Wild Horses' wafted like smoke over the piers.  People comfortably filled in the dock around us and a nearby restaurant plaza.  And full moons bathed is white light.  
A dog took to meeting his friend by jumping across the narrow waterway separating the dock and mainland.  He came up like 3 ft. short and took a swan dive into the water.  I chided him taking a page from Will Ferrell

11:30PM - The more things change, the more they stay the same.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree, planned fun, sometimes isn't fun. And also...a return to that same city in the future, will not be as fun as the first time....just my thoughts...which mean absolutely nothing. The post had me chuckling.