I came to Venice 3 weeks ago. Mainly I came to write and think and actually really just to be. In a week or two I will return to Tuscany to continue with my projects there and between now and then, I will be here, planning and preparing the months ahead. In the weeks that I have spent here I have become friends with this city. It was an instant feeling actually, one I would compare to returning to visit an old friend. I never felt like a stranger at all. This city just held me from the moment that I arrived and I have felt increasingly at ease and safe. Even walking alone in the little streets in the darkening evenings quite lost sometimes. Venice feels like a welcome home and at night I sleep to the feeling of the movement of the water, gentle and constant and to the sounds of the Grand Canal below.
I can't say it enough, I love Venice. I love that there are no cars, no scooters, no bikes, no traffic sounds, apart from the boats but I don't think of them as traffic as they move along on the water softly most of the time, there are speed limits too. Except the police, the ambulances and the fire brigade boats who are usually in a hurry and at least once a day you may hear the sirens and with it the reminder that everything comes and goes on the water, no exceptions, even the hearses go by this way. But this is magic to me. The tides come and go and life comes and goes the same. Workers take supplies from one place to another, children play and go to school and old people with little dogs walk over bridges. Teenagers in the evenings pass on little boats with music playing, kids play in the piazzas with footballs and sometimes, like yesterday, the ball goes out of bounds towards the canal and they all cry 'nooooo' as they chase behind it, as it moves closer and closer to the water.
I walk and sometimes, when something catches my eye, I sketch and then return home in the evening to paint and write. I wanted to get to know this city in a true and slow way, so I just sat with it, the way you do with a friend. I sat in the piazzas with aperitivo, observing, absorbing and wondering. I sat by the river sketching little boats and it all happened naturally and slowly. The beautiful palazzo, where I have been so fortunate to spend these days, is right on the Grand Canal. From my bedroom windows I may look upon it and all day long the sounds of it are within my mind and soul.
The pace of my time here has gone slowly. I wanted to take it all in gently and in a city where you either walk or you go by boat, it is perfectly fitting. I love it and I say it every day. Venice rocks me to sleep every night and the sounds of it sit within my dreams. I don't really want to leave but Tuscany is calling as well and that's a whole other universe of gentleness and beauty on the earth. But I will miss the sounds of Venice, sounds that are like nowhere else on earth and it will stay within my dreams I am sure it will. As I write these words seagulls call out overhead and a vaporetto, the public water bus, passes by on the canal below, a reminder that it will be here when I return. The light is also beautiful, all that reflection where the sky meets the water in the way it does here like nowhere else. Venice is simply a divine place to be and the perfect place to write and just be.
Venice feels like it flows at the same timing that I do, or perhaps I move with it as it invited me to do and we just get along. The houses are built that way too, they move with the water, and sometimes cracks appear on the walls over time but these old houses just flow into it and after all these centuries still stand as majestic as ever. The floors are also specially made with little marble and stone pieces set into them like a sea of little mosaic islands moving ever so slightly and happily around. That's how this city works, the people and the buildings flow with the water like good friends. I can feel the harmony all around me. I awoke one morning, as gentle as always, with the words 'Nothing leaves, things just move around.' All of Venice is a sound.