Friday, June 30, 2017

Season of Sudden Storms

The most dramatic storms of the year blow into town during the summer: dark, thunderous, torrential, turbulent, and typically over in far less time than it takes to play one half of a soccer game. They sweep in all biblical and apocalyptic, forcing you to take shelter wherever you can and wondering if you'll ever see your home again, but tend to pass so swiftly as to end up seeming almost theatrical--a masterfully produced stage set squall for the stage set city so many people take Venice to be.

Of course it's a different matter if you're out in a boat in the lagoon, and the first thing I was warned about by locals when I started to row out into the lagoon by myself--though I never went out far--was to watch for such storms. If caught in one I was told to stake my boat on a barena (mudflat): one oar lodged in the mud at the boat's prow, a second at its stern on the opposite side. (I had two oars as I was rowing ala Valesana.)

The kayaker pictured above was, fortunately, on the Grand Canal when a recent thunderstorm hit. Still, it's not a place I'd much like to be at such a time.

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