01 January 2009


New Year’s Eve, the way it’s done in Venice.

Not so very different than the way it’s done in New York, if on a much smaller scale than Times Square. Believe me, it doesn’t feel smaller when one is caught in the dangerous crush of thousands of loud, clumsy, drunken celebrants, with firecrackers and homemade air rockets exploding only a few meters away.

Last year I missed this highlight of the holiday season. I had made supper for a gentleman friend, and we became involved in a long and difficult conversation that simply wore us out. We nodded off and snoozed right through the midnight hour festivities. I could have kicked myself for that mistake. I was sure I had missed some real magic.

As I have expressed here before, nothing was going to keep me from seeing the New Year roll into the Piazza this year. And now that I’ve seen it, I have no wish to ever do it again.

But one thing did make it all worthwhile…

It snowed! Great billowing clouds of swirling snow, all the more dramatic for being illuminated by the colored spotlights in the Piazza and the glimmer of fireworks over the Bacino.

Snow! Enough to cover the calli and campi with white sparkle. Enough to inspire brief snowball skirmishes among the kids. Enough to leave lacy ice on the hulls of the gondole resting in the still canals. Enough to reveal the delicate pawprints of some unseen wandering cat.

Hours later, after the crowds subsided, I took a long, solitary passeggiata to see this small miracle again. I can’t guess what’s coming for me in the New Year. But this gift of snow was a very good omen, don’t you think?

Buon Anno a tutti!