The soul of Venice has brought me together with Frédérique, a French doctor of letters. She teaches aesthetics in art at a university in Nimes, France. Her Italian is perfect, and she speaks enough English that we have been able to enjoy each other’s company and share observations and philosophy. She is on business but has mostly free time, and I am alone and want company. We have walked miles together, day and night, reveling in the grandness of this place that so remarkably arose from the sea, and just as remarkably is still keeping its head above water after 1500 years. Frédérique has authored a book exploring the ancient Greek principles of eros and Thanatos, or longing and death, in art. Venice is full of these feelings. The many splendid buildings and churches that dot the city are emblems of grand aspirations and have hosted countless magical moments, but there is a sadness hovering over them too. Crumbling walls, stained with time, and foundations precariously close to falling into the sea give a taste of death. It is bewitching, and for the creatively inclined, inspiring. That is why so many artists have gravitated here over the centuries.
I am mesmerized, and so far into THE DREAM that twice I have locked myself out of my apartment. It is as if I lose consciousness of borders, or arbitrary divisions such as walls, doors and locks. Possessions are meaningless. Only the unfolding DREAM and Spirit are real . . . until I reach for my house key and it is not in my pocket, then I am facing a night on the street or in a hotel.
Frédérique has invited me to visit her in Nimes. It is in the famous region of France called Provence, bordering the Mediterranean Sea. I will go, since it is on my way to Granada, Spain, where I will live for a month beginning May 14.