18 April 2008

Van Gogh & Shanti Daan

This is Van Gogh, whom I believe to be the most serene individual currently residing in La Serenissima. (Apparently it was not always so. He is named after the artist not only for his red-orange fur, but also for the loss of part of one ear in fight some time ago.)

He lives with the very gracious and serene Antonia in the beautiful shop called Shanti Daan. She sells lovely things from India and Tibet and Thailand and many other such exotic places, all of them designed to bring pleasure to the senses and peace to the soul. The whole place has the most wonderful scent of flower and spice. I cannot describe the relaxing sounds in there because I have not yet figured out what it is I am actually hearing (a delicate flute played underwater in a deep cavern maybe?). I like to drop in, just to feel the shift of the energy from the ruckus of the street. And Antonia doesn’t mind my breathing in a little of her calming atmosphere for free. The only rule here is, as you can see, “Don't disturb the cat!”

Sometimes Van Gogh snoozes on the counter like this, under the rosy-warm halogen lights; other times he’s away on a passeggiata through the neighborhood. Today the cat was “in.” I was lucky enough to get a photo. (I’m sorry it’s not clearer, but I could not bring myself to risk waking him with the flash.)

I show you Van Gogh just because I like him. Sometimes he permits me to pet him, but I have no clue how he really feels about me.

[This post was corrected 9 June 2008. Mea culpa!]