29 February 2008

Leap Day

I couldn’t possibly have planned it any better! For all the wishing and hoping and thinking and praying I did when I was dreaming of my year in Venice, never once did it occur to me to add, “And please, Spirit, make all this happen during a leap year so I’ll get that extra day in February.” Yet that’s just how it worked out. Lucky old me!

All of yesterday I thought about what I might do with my extra 24 hours (that is, after spending four of them in class on my last day of school). I decided I should do something I had never done before in Venice… but what?

My list of possibilities was rather short. I have been hoping to meet someone with a boat who might take me out to see the small islands of the lagoon – but no luck yet. I have also been meaning to take a dip in one of Venice’s public swimming pools, to me a very odd idea in this city built on water. And lately, I’ve had a notion to create and document a small, unobtrusive art installation somewhere in the city, possibly in one of the gardens. I have not yet eaten any foreign cuisine here, even though Venice has Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, and Middle Eastern restaurants – all favorites of mine. Nor have I ever visited Ca’ Pesaro, the natural history museum, or La Zecca – all three "must-sees" for me. I have never been over the waters to see Murano or Burano, glass and lace being of almost zero interest to me, or Torcello, which has a church I want to see before that island’s lizard population awakens from winter slumber. And the long road of the seabreak islands Lido and Pellestrina is another journey I want to make soon.

But none of these options were really calling to me.

Then at day’s end I got news of the sudden death of Alan Frank, my neighbor and a close friend in New York. It was a terrible shock. It made me think of how helpful he had been in finding my subtenant last summer. And it made me think of a breakfast and a dinner we shared just before I departed for Italy. Never did I imagine we would not meet again, talk again, laugh again. (Alan was a great, quick wit.)

Later, sometime in the night, my answer came to me… the right thing to do on my bonus day in my beloved city. I knew Alan would approve of my choice. Certainly I had never done it before. Indeed, it had never even crossed my mind before. But the timing seemed right – Leap Day. A “leap of faith.” “Leap, and the net will appear.” Just do it!

(Is your curiosity killing you? Stay tuned… )