Early One Morning
“Early One Morning”
35 x 28 cm in coloured pencils. January 2019
Early one morning just nine Saturdays ago I set out from my vacation rental into the maze of lanes outside. “I won’t go far”, I called to daughter, Alicia, who was still in bed. My plan was to orientate myself within a small radius from the apartment, in our sestiere, Cannaregio.
We had arrived in Venice the previous afternoon in rain. The forecast for our entire four-day stay was rain. Indeed in the night it had drummed down steadily. I had woken early to the plaintive call of seagulls. When I roused myself to the window the sky was blue and the moon sharp. So I quickly dressed and rushed out. Who wouldn’t?
First I took a photo of our building’s entrance so that I’d be able to recognize it again. The distinguishing feature was “hooligan” scrawled in graffiti. Noted. Senses erect I took a few steps this way (into Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo) then that way (to Fondamenta Nuove – the vaporetto stop).
Before I knew it I was OUT AND ABOUT in Venice. Wow! What an achievement, what joy! The low winter sun illuminated all it touched. Stone and water glowed. Hardly anyone was around, the time being before 07:00.
I took the brave (for me) decision not to retrace my steps. Instead I pushed on, map in one hand, camera in the other, past Santa Maria Assunta dei Gesuiti. In tiny lanes between canals I witnessed light, shadow, water and movement.
I would do a loop back to our apartment. En route I took the photo which became my reference for “Early One Morning”. Where was I? On Rio Terrà di Franceschi detta la Botesela. (The name is longer than the thoroughfare!)
Was the pooled water a remnant from the just-finished high tide or was it from the night’s rain? I don’t know but it looked perfect in its Venetian context. Sunshine bathed upper walls of buildings. It couldn’t reach lower – the result being an almost spiritual vertical ascension from deep shadow to radiant light.
“Early one morning just as the sun was rising...” in Venice – Serenissimo – Most Serene.
(And I found my way home.)