Thursday, April 7, 2011

Venice, Out of Time, Out of Place

vehicles. roads. traffic. congestion.

it takes a day or two to realize that we have left such 20th C. concepts behind. not just in time but space. they don't exist here in venice.


i hadn't really realized it or it hadn't come to consciousness until shakun mentioned at some point today as we were, once again, meandering along the lanes, quays and alleys that make up the urban core of venice.

'it's so lovely to walk w/o any cars.' she said.

then, in a rather sonumulent manner of someone just wakening to the day, lifting the pillow off their own head, i looked around, sideways, in front and behind me and, rather belatedly, realized that there aren't any vehicles, motorcycles, trucks or micros nearby.

you have to live in kathmandu to fully appreciate that revelation.

jesus could have fallen off his crucifix as amazed as i was with this sudden thought.

i'm sure ananda wasn't enlightened hearing the buddha any quicker than my astonishment.

i awoke in the clear light of day to the obvious insight that we had been strolling venice for two days now and i had completely taken it for granted that there wasn't a car engine or motorcycle disturbing the harmony of our feet on marble or brick or stone as we trundled along the by-ways of this unusual city.

the only engines that puttered around this city are on water and no danger to us mere mortals still unable to walk on water.

what peace! what sanctity! what a blessing! what a rarity!

do i have to ever leave?

what a slap in the face of the 20th C. and the assault of modern advertisement for ford, fiat, toyota, jaguar, mercedez, bmw, lexus, chevrolet, vw and the international oil companies that are constantly trying to convince us that they are the concerned public face of the 'mother nature', 'back to earth' and 'green' campaigns for the global environment.,,

we left our rented europcar at the garage at the piazza roma as soon as we crossed the long bridge to venice, carried our many bags onto a private water taxi and for 50 euro were whisked down the grand canal to our lovely pensione in the dorsodura near the accademia bridge.

behind us were the highways and traffic jams of our modern times. back in space and time driving to a different music and tempo than this hoary, dank and romanticitized city of doges, gondolas and 'fondamenta'.

here water is space and time seems to have evaporated in the 17th C. when venice began its fell from grace, power and influence.

'time must have a stop', as aldous huxley once wrote.

was he writing of this city, caught between constantinople and rome, between water and land, between the renaissance and the reformation, between sincerity and simplicity, between arrogance and humility, between -- as the brilliant painters describe, heaven and hell...

water and airless time, those seem to be the elements of this city.

as alien to our time as the alleys on which we stroll...

and stroll...

and stroll...

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