10 July 2008

Guarding the turtles

Here’s a lion few Venice visitors ever see. From his leafy bower in the middle of a little pond on Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi, he stands guard over a few hundred turtles and some khaki-colored carp. So lush is his mini-jungle in summertime that one could easily miss him. I like his neutral attitude, his calm gaze (but I do wonder, what’s up with that Something About Mary hairstyle?).

When winter comes, somebody drains the pond and takes its inhabitants somewhere else. Most of the foliage falls away. Then, among the bare branches, the life-size lion can be seen in his entirety. And even though there are no water creatures to guard, he maintains the serene watch. If he misses the turtles, he doesn’t show it.