it’s winter in venice

it’s winter in venice

written January 2017

The coolness of the air collides with the sea. What is birthed is an enchanting mist that hangs over every pale horizon. The world is a palette of the softest blues, yellows, pinks and whites. The ever-low sun dances on the water and lights up the entire city. Shadows hang more lightly and the air itself seems bright. I breathe deeply, reveling in the invigorating smell of the crisp, cool air. I cannot believe we are here! Excitement wells inside me, filling my insides with butterflies. I cannot wait to explore!

It’s Christmas Day. The waves splash and crest, and finally still as the ferry halts alongside the creaking dock. Christmas lights strung across the alleys sparkle in the twilight as we arrive on the island. No one is to be seen. It’s a labyrinth, all to you and me. We cross the countless bridges, wander the cobblestone streets, marvel at the buildings that touch the sky. In the yellowed light of the street lamps we count the boats that fill the canals. We are wealthy kings. We are rapscallion orphans. The scent of jasmine hangs in the air as we kiss in the ancient shadows.

Wine glasses clink merrily together. The comforting smell of espresso drifts lazily through the room. A candle flickers happily on our table. We enjoy a Christmas dinner fit for royalty. Laughter and smiles are the backdrop of our banter. We are warm and cozy, a nice change after hours of exploring. We eat slowly, savoring the atmosphere. And after an abundance of pasta and conversation, we lose ourselves down the meandering streets once more, as we make our way back home.

We sit in awed silence as voices slowly fill the cathedral. At first it’s only sound, but then the choir members arrive! Gliding steadily through the audience in waves, they congregate at the front. High melodies and rich, deep tones, all singing in Latin about the birth and life of Jesus. Ancient cathedrals and ancient truths greet like old friends, and the whole space echoes with the fullness of revered beauty in sound, sight and spirit alike.

There are people now. I reach out and grab onto your arm as we maneuver the narrow street. Shoulders bump a little and the chatter of many languages tosses back and forth. A great bushy mustache twitches to reveal a toothy grin, as an old leathered hand scoops gelato into cones and hands them our way. Once. Twice. Walnut and fig for you; chocolate for me. The magic of Venice enchants our taste buds. Such sweets you have never tasted! I giggle and wipe a small dribble off of your beard.

The air whipping past is cold and salty. I shiver as I pull my coat a little tighter and wrap my scarf a little more snugly. The boat creaks and groans. The motor purrs. The water lulls and crashes. My teeth begin to chatter, and yet I cannot move. The entire world dances below my feet and I am riding its back. It is filled with the mystery of the depth and strength of the sea that I cannot comprehend. The rhythm is undeniable and it consumes me.

We have parted ways and I can’t wait to go back. I’ll probably never go in spring or summer. Always winter. For I have been bewitched by Venice in winter. She is a sorceress! A cool beauty; illusive as the mist that hangs over her seas, silent friend to the king and orphan alike. She is like spearmint and eucalyptus. A fresh balm to the soul. Enchanting all those she meets to see the world as deliciously as they dream it to be. I will love her forever, my winter Venice