Yes, I have returned to my mooring here and have been grappling with the holiday trappings — more mental than physical. Translation: I just haven’t felt like doing or writing or thinking anything, really.
But the ghosts of Calvinists Past have reared up and made harrowing threats if I continue to indulge this revolting lethargy. And I always respond to harrowing threats, in case you ever need to know. Hideous predictions about the afterlife usually do the trick.
In any case, Christmas in our lobe of Venice this year is so low-key that it’s hardly noticeable. The atmosphere in the city as a whole is so far from festive that I’m not going to go into it at all. But I don’t need lights and spangles to know that it’s just about show time.
We will do the traditional Christmas food and possibly the traditional staying-up-late, though that’s becoming more optional as the years go by. Then we will go to the mountains for the New Year phase.
And then we’ll all be back here together, not making it up.
The Nativity scene at the F. Morosini Naval School has once again focused on the lagoon. The innovations here are the starfish as stars (no surprise there), and the comet’s tail is the shell of a pinna nobilis (fan mussel) painted gold. The cradle for the still-in-transit Baby Jesus is a clamshell. It looks pretty comfortable, at least to me.
One creche (or presepe, as it’s called here) isn’t enough at the Naval School, where the chaplain and cadets put heart, soul and all sorts of useful bric-a-brac into their scenes. The lifebuoy adds a touch of metaphor to the arrangement. As is usual, the figure of the Bambin Gesu’ is only installed on Christmas Day.
The woman in command of this family was getting everything ready a week early, from underwear to reindeer.
This curious but strangely appealing effort at spreading holiday cheer didn’t last long. An hour later they were gone. Why? Were this in contravention of some municipal ordinance? Or did the family suddenly discover that it really needed these three balls inside?
Humans are preparing to gorge themselves over the next few days, but a little egret (Egretta garzetta) has already started noshing. The vaporetto dock is an excellent place to spear anguele (Atherina boyeri). When the birds are happy, I’m happy. I wonder if they’d like some panettone, we’ve got three of them already. It’ll take me till Candlemas to finish them if nobody helps me.