Thursday, June 4, 2009

What I Am Thankful For Today

I am thankful for the flowers in the garden in their annual succession, for the white and pink and scarlet hydrangea, for the jasmine covering the walls that perfumes the air, and the heavy white blossoms of the oleander with their own langorous fragrance.

I am thankful that there are people in this world I love and who love me. They give life to my heart the way the flowers please my senses.

I am thankful for this cold glass of water on a hot summer day. It is acqua di rubinetto, from the tap, and I am greatful that here the water tastes like its Alpine sources.

I am thankful for Palestrina, and here is why: because in all of Palestrina's music that I have heard, there is never a bad mood, barely ever a shadow to darken the harmony; Palestrina's music is to my ears what the scent of jasmine is to my nose.

Submarine piece for Biennale
I am thankful for the Biennale which opens this weekend. Venice comes to life in a different way for the Biennale. For the annual Film Festival it is Los Angeles, with movie stars and papparazzi; for Biennale it is New York, the art capital of the moment, the place where the parties and the shows and the people are all about art and the business of art and the world of art. You see it everywhere. You can't miss it. It is to Venice what lilacs are to spring.

I am thankful for Bar Palanca on Giudecca, where Richard and I met a friend for drinks and conversation with one of the best views in the cosmos. I am thankful for the golden light in the early dusk, and the mesmerizing reflections on the water, for fascinating boat traffic and the fun conversation.

I am thankful for the Corner Pub, around the corner from my apartment, where the neighborhood gathers in the evenings. The atmosphere is convivial and the people unfailingly interesting, with an odd mix of international tourists and locals, newbies and old-timers. Tonight I met a gorgeous young Italian woman, a medievalist, who teaches Italian language and culture at the university next door to the Guggenheim. She invited me to visit their palazzo and meet the folks. Her friend, it turns out, lived for four years in my apartment and for the six years before that in my friend Richard's apartment on the top floor. We swapped building stories; and that's a strange tale.

That's a lot to be thankful for in one day, but there is much more which I will not detail. Suffice it to say that every day there are wonderful things to be thankful for if we stop to notice them, to find them, to remember to savor them, and it sometimes helps put things in perspective to enumerate them. Some things on the list change, some never change.

If you have never heard Palestrina, here's a snatch from Youtube so you can hear what I mean:

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