As we are leaving Lido, en route to catch another acqua bus at San Marco Square on Venice, I'm already missing this cluster of beautiful island towns. As we are leaving, it's clear to me that the past three days have given us a special kind of healing. There are no cars on Venice. We walked everywhere, hardly looking at the map. We asked for directions from locals and from vendors. We remembered this turn and that straight, based on the oddest landmarks: a Shepard Fairey-designed Obey sticker on an electrical conduit; an all plastic electrical junction box that fascinated me; a piece of jewelry that Jo Ann noticed in a shop window while whisking by the prior day. These things are so simple, there for anyone to see, for all kinds of reasons, and for us, they were guides in an ancient city with healing powers we couldn't have known until we got here.
Three days of feeling our way through a city - a place where every eyeball, every minuto of the day is stunningly, preposterously breathtaking - was a safe way to enter the body of our trip. Paris was an add-on, just to see the Tour de France finish and to eat a few great meals. It's an intense city, a bit rough for our mission. Italy was always meant to be the healing part. And so far, it has been.
On Venice, there are no cars, no taxis, no getting lost. It's impossible to get lost, at least for more than a few minutes. Getting lost - temporarily - is part of the fun of being here. Sure beats the lost feeling inside us since May 17 2008, and the Vesuvius-like volcano mental wonder and emotional wander it erupted on June 28 2009. We aren't sure how temporary our lostness is. We're still in it.
On Venice, we've also been able to work on our cooperation skills. Sometimes in a loud argumentative way, but mostly in a quiet loving way. We've been operating on feel. And that's been very, very appropriate for three people whose wings are singed and whose hearts are full of melancholy and sadness infinito.
In many ways, our time in Venice has mirrored the path of Pablo's 13 months of treatment: no map for guidance (a theme in our lives now); getting a little lost and finding our way; biting at each other and making amends; waking up, making mistakes, and making up. Starting over - another involuntary theme in our lives. The RESET button gets good use in our familia. This softer, gentler way of re-entering life is captivating to me in itself. I'm trying to appreciate it in the background - even the raw parts - as we are living life in the foreground.
Do we wish more than any other wish that Pablo was beside us, running down dark alleyways, dripping gelato all over himself? OF COURSE! But Pablo has died. He can't be with us. Not physically. We know he is w i t h us. We feel his energy everywhere. And we are certainly here bec a u s e of Pablo. We are here, away from our home, in part as an attempt to develop a comprehension of what our lives mean on an increasing number of mornings when we do not hear Pablo's footsteps in the hall. And then discarding that comprehension - the mind and its thoughts are of no use - to make way for the corso secondi: our emotions about and because of it all.
So, yes, we wish we wish we wish.
The thing we can get our hands round is our own behavior, with one another, with our selves - not ourselves, but our selves - and with nature. We are grateful for all the nature stories and photos we've been getting from friends and family - they've made us cry and smile. Crying is cleansing for the spirit. Smiling is drying the tears + wringing out the towel.
We have talked a lot about Pablo. Yesterday, Grady got us started on a stream of hilarious Pablo stories as we wound our way around the narrow 'tween building footpaths. One theme was how Pablo loved to rat us out - all of us, to one another. He'd narc me out to Jo Ann, Grady to me, Polly to Grady and so on. I never minded it at the time. Grady did, cos most of the time Pablo was ratting him out for real. No matter what, these are sweet, happy memories for us as we walk our way through the fifth week of Pablo being a spiritual presence in our lives.
I'm writing this on the numero uno water bus. It's overcast this morning, and the Grand Canal is filled with a heavy stream of black gondolas poking their way over the water, the usual freight and construction traffic, and rush hour water buses like ours. It's just like rush hour in Times Square except a lot quieter. No horns, no burning pavement, no one getting run over by an under insured cab. This is lovely. A city that truly delivers what the brochures sell to the world.
For us, the brochures were of no use. They don't have a picture of our little Scrapper Pablo. We came here for a custom trip - to start healing in the Italian sun.
We're fully engaged. Ready for the next stop: Florence.