For a Fleeting Moment... From Spain to Venice...

Well, I am back. I was not very far away... depending where you are though. I was spending most of my time in the hospital waiting rooms and once I got “home” in the evening, I never felt up to writing.

In the hospital I go to, the waiting rooms are open spaces. So you get to see many people walking back and forth to their doctor’s appointment.

Total strangers. People I just look at while they are walking by, never to be seen again.

And then it hit me last night.

Strangers enter my life for a fleeting moment all the time while I walk aimlessly around cities but some of them will never leave me.

I do not know those people. I do not talk to them and yet I suddenly realize that I have spent unforgettable instants with them. So unforgettable that I’m still thinking about them months and sometimes years later.

This happens to me quite often.

I am a photographer. Images are part of my life either fixed on a film or protected into the recesses of my mind. Most of them will become memories.

There are a few pictures though I can turn to whenever I feel like it. Vivid images of a very strong feeling I experienced at one time... for a fleeting moment indeed. Longing somehow to freeze my emotions and to go back to experiencing the same sensation I felt at the time.

Very often those pictures send me back deep into my past, helping me to assess it and to realize my life turned out much easier and happier than I thought it would at the time.

A few photographs mirror aching yearnings of what could be and will never happen because that’s life. No bitterness there though. Somehow I witnessed something that will bring me joy and hope whenever life gets rougher than it should. Those pictures turn into a very sweet memory indeed because they are merely fragments of reverie.

Barcelona -- One late afternoon in the city that reaches down to the sea.

There had been a huge storm but the sun came out and even though it was early November, there were many people on the sandy beach.

This beautiful girl watching intently the waves drew my attention for the one and only reason that she did not look lonely even though she was alone. She looked thoroughly happy to be on her own just the way I feel while I spend days on my own by the sea in my beloved Brittany. We were kin.

I felt such an affinity with her that several months later I wrote a post about her and my love of being on my own.

Same afternoon in Barcelona. This child sent me back to times I thought long forgotten... so deeply buried below strata of thousands of memories.

I was instantly sent back to some thirty years ago. On beaches in Southern France and Brittany. Watching my own Swee’Pea while he was  grabbing handfuls of sand and sea water as if they were a treasure to keep forever only to have them flow away from his hands. Never discouraged. So happy as if fighting off natural laws was the most exciting thing in the world.

Madrid -- I met the “girl in a blue dress” in the Royal Botanical Garden. I had spent long hours there, enjoying lush vegetation and peace and quiet when this girl came up. She was very young and all dressed up like a doll even though it was early afternoon. A couple of older girls and a photographer were fussing around her. She looked quite lonely though and kind of sad and yet excited to be wearing what probably was all her finery.

I overheard that she was from Cuba, so far away from her family and country.
She was celebrating her sixteenth birthday by having pictures taken to send to her close relations. Turning sixteen is obviously an important step in a young woman’s life in Cuba.

Sixteen. What was I doing when I was sixteen? And then I realized that even if I was offered the chance to go back in time, I’d refuse to do it. I’d refuse to be sixteen again. What? Going through the pains of growing up again? In order to feel young and pretty again? You’ve got to be kidding. I certainly didn’t feel up to being this young again. This thought really surprised me though. Was I really this happy to be sixtyish after all? Yes, I certainly was. Funny how the “girl in the blue dress” had such a sobering effect on me!  No wonder I never forgot her.

The next day, I went back to the Botẚnico. I needed to rest. I had brought a book with me and I was on my way to the secluded place I had discovered the day before. On my way, I noticed this old man on a bench.

What really attracted my attention was the fact that he was surrounded by extraordinary bushes and flowers, blazing colors and intense beauty. And yet, there he was, very lonely indeed and looking intently at the emptiest spot of the area. Sad looking shrubbery. Arid and parched soil.

I felt like going to talk to him but sometimes loneliness is so severe that it is hard to intrude. I took several pictures of him, one of them I used in one post where I tried to explain how lucky we all were to be alive.

He did not seem to be very happy to be old but alive. I’ll never know his story. It probably wasn’t very cheerful after all.

All I felt though was that I was not to end up like him, turning my back to beauty only to stare into emptiness. Life is never easy and believe me, mine has never been smooth. This is the reason why I try to grab every second of calm and beauty around me. This is the reason why I still climb every mountain without tumbling down the abyss. Lucky happy me!

And now Venice -- January 2012

After our son’s departure, Popeye decided to move from our hotel. Hotels were quite empty by then and it was very easy to find a beautiful room in one of those outstanding ancient palaces turned into hotels...

We were given a tour of the hotel since most rooms were empty. It was lovely traveling through time because this “palace” had been turned into a real Venetian museum. And we finally chose a room above a small canal because it was very close to the room Vivaldi lived in for many years. Not that we believe in ghosts. But it was nice.

I fell in love with the view from our bedroom. Our previous room was right by the Rialto Bridge. This one was facing real Venetian life. Everyday life I mean. There were no tourists there. No gondolas either. Very small bridges. Household linen trying to dry all along the front of the buildings under a steady drizzle. The Venice where I would love to live. The real Venice.

And then it happened.

While we were unpacking, I was drawn back to one of the windows. And there it was... my dream place. An open window. One lighted room - a study where a man was writing at his desk. A very quiet and private moment I was shamelessly intruding on.

I was in a hotel room -- a mere passer-by in Venice. A tourist when I was longing to belong to this magical city. I suddenly was craving to be there, at this man’s desk, in this apartment over the canal. I wanted to be there so bad that whenever I’m thinking about Venice and I close my eyes, this is the first image my brain conjures...

Like I said before - an aching yearning of what could have been and will never happen.

I am so fortunate though to journey on from my reveries back to my real life while enjoying both so much.

Dreamland and reality. Worth writing about even far away from Venice. Don’t you think so?

*Good Luck, and Good Night*

1 comment:

Myrna said...

Your photos capture the moments so beautifully. Thank you for sharing them and the memories that they contain or bring to recollection! :o)