Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Sinking of Venice?

The buildings of Venice are constructed on closely spaced wood piles, which were imported from the mainland. (Under water, in the absence of oxygen, wood does not decay. It is petrified as a result of the constant flow of mineral-rich water around and through it, so that it becomes a stone-like structure.) The piles penetrate a softer layer of sand and mud until they reach the much harder layer of compressed clay. Wood for piles was cut in the most western part of today's Slovenia, resulting in the barren land in a region today called Kras, and in two regions of Croatia, Lika and Gorski kotar (resulting in the barren slopes of Velebit). Most of these piles are still intact after centuries of submersion. The foundations rest on the piles, and buildings of brick or stone sit above these footings. The buildings are often threatened by flood tides pushing in from the Adriatic between autumn and early spring... (wikipedia)

As I was relaying a condensed version of the recent happenings in my life to my insightful, ironic brother, I noticed a common theme... H20... good old water. For it was water that was pouring (literally) out of the front of the house (the bank now owns) when I stopped by, warping the hardwood floors, saturating carpeting, the furniture yet unclaimed and even spraying from vents and ceiling fans~ on one of the coldest days, naturally, when I had still failed to find mittens of any warmth (forgoing fashion or even a relative matching), and had tried seeking heat in a car that doesn't kick in the lukewarm air until you reach about 70 mph. A little hard to pull off in a driveway.

And when said car 'died' last Friday evening , smoking and grinding (the car, not me,) while transporting the kids North to their father (and forcing a necessary tow back 40 miles from Cameron~ with a driver who was clearly ready to be out 'partying',) the diagnosis came back as a cracked water something??!, and every time the shop turned the ignition over, my sun-loving convertible started shooting water out from under the hood... to the tune of a $301 repair. In addition to the bumper replacement deductible of $500 (Don't ask.)

What always causes me to reflect on situations like this (when I've had my meds and a glass/bottle/case of red wine) is the yin/yang of any given we encounter.

I adore water. I'd be a fish if I could work out the whole cute hair under water thing and a stationary bosom. I'm already anticipating days on the lake, how to be done teaching summer school by 'pool time' and just today was perusing pictures taken last February on a trip to Cabo with my sisters. But I'm not naive to the horror stories of those honeymooners who pose for a picture among the waves, and are swept out to sea... until death do them part. (When I commit again, I'm putting at least a minimum statute in there. You should be allowed to be together long enough to at least develop the photos.)

There is a Chinese symbol referenced in a book by Carrie Fischer, Delusions of Grandma, which has opposing meanings depending on your perspective. I was sharing about this (contemplating matching tattoos- sorry Mom!) and thinking about how analogous this is to life. We all have stuff happen. Do I forbid any contact with water (unlikely and rather limited in scope) just because water was the common element in two recent 'inconveniences?' Does Venice lose some of it's beauty (and tourists) because of those currents that are erasing the edges of that city? Or does it become even more sacred and the desire to see it even more urgent because of those encroaching waves? Will it keep you from travel or will it increase your sense of urgency. Do you avoid it shielding yourself, or do you invite it knowing the risks?

In the Billy Crystal movie, City Slickers, there is a scene on the trail when a character is asked about the best day and and the worst day of his life. What is revealed after the telling is that both events occured on the same day~ all encompassed.
If you've ever had the chance to see Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind (Jim Carrey), as viewers, we are asked to contemplate that same examination of life and choice, following a relationship no longer reciprocated between the leads. Memories of that person are able to be deleted from one's memory, making it easier to forget the pain and the loss. And because the pain had been so overwhelming, Jim Carrey decided to have this contoversial procedure done in a process that essentially rewound each memory and created flashbacks during the deletion process, creating an epiphany for him... in giving up the hurt, he was also giving up all the good.

So, I will continue to plan for that gondola ride and the colorful architecture of all that is Venice. And, until then, I think I'll just go with the tide and continue to ride out these waves (maybe even look at surf boards,) finding that I don't always have to swim against the current.
Rain, rain, go away...