07 May 2009

Two Avalons

Yesterday morning I took my last look at La Serenissima from the window of my New York-bound jet. As we climbed higher, I could easily make out the Piazza, Rialto Bridge, even my own little campo. I searched for my friends’ homes and my favorite spots. But the clouds were closing over her and, just like the mystical island of Avalon in the King Arthur legend, she faded into the shroud of mists. Ethereal. Elusive. Too strange and beautiful to exist, to endure. As she disappeared from my view, it seemed impossible that I had ever really lived there at all. I confess that I wept bitterly.

The flight was cramped and torturous – nine long hours of tasteless food, brain-dead movies, inane jabber from the seat-kickers behind me, and nonstop screaming and crying from a toddler a few rows ahead of me. Nine long hours of wondering what lay before me, probably the most unwilling traveler on that crowded flight.

Descending toward our destination, I looked over a deep layer of the same dense, dull clouds I had left behind in Italy. Then the mists parted and I caught my first glimpse of Manhattan, my other Avalon. It took my breath away, just as it always does when I come home…


But I just left “home…”