02 April 2008

One of those moments

Late this afternoon from the traghetto, I watched an ominous thunderstorm making its way down the Grand Canal. Another time I would have scurried home to avoid a soaking, but Bancogiro looked so warm and inviting as I passed by that I decided to stop in for an ombra, maybe a brief chat with Carlo and Matteo. I was served a beautiful wine that I’d never had before – Poncaia. As it grew darker and the rain hit, several other damp customers joined us. The whole place became quite jolly. As I took a sip of my second glass, I turned to look out the window at the rain.

You can see what I saw – Campo San Giacometto, the San Polo entry to Rialto Bridge (not even looking its best). But you can’t feel what I felt – the sudden rush of emotion this scene brought to my heart. It took my breath away. Why?

Countless times over the past years, when I sat at my desk in my New York office, I would pull up the three Venice webcams and see a storm like this one making a haunting, poetic picture of my city. It would make me ache. How I longed to be living there, stopping for a break during my weekly errands, lingering over a great glass of wine in a cozy osteria, laughing and chatting, postponing the wet walk to my apartment just like the others, almost a Venetian myself!

Today that’s exactly where I was. It was perfect, just as I’d always imagined.