Venetians in wonderlandBy
It snowed yesterday, which was about time, considering that the rest of Europe and even large parts of Italy have already had far more than their share.
I realize thousands, maybe millions, of people would be happier never to see snow again; Italy in the past two days has been overwhelmed by the white stuff and its icy relatives, which have blocked trains, closed airports, inflicted autostrada catastrophes involving heavy tractor trailers (one monster rig went sideways on one of the main north-south superhighways, not only preventing motorists from moving forward but also making it impossible for the snowplows to get through), and stranded travelers everywhere who finally were put up overnight in assorted improvised shelters because they couldn’t move in any direction and the temperature was sinking steadily below freezing.
Still, even if vehicles in my world aren’t hindered much by snow, walking presents its own hazards. Traversing the space between two points here will inevitably require crossing a bridge. The bridges do not get shoveled and salted in a timely fashion, and the edge of each step of each bridge was helpfully bordered by some long-ago brilliant engineer with a strip of cream-colored Istrian stone (to resist wear? to clearly demarcate where the step ends?), and when this stone freezes it becomes one of the most treacherous substances on earth. Little old people dragging their wheeled shopping carts put many of their 206 bones at risk on the way home. And by the way, I too could slip and fall.
But I don’t care. Snow here is as magical as anywhere else, and watching little kids discover the myriad wonders of making and launching snowballs just makes it even better. The laughter, the occasional scream, a couple of gamboling dogs who can’t resist barking,the air which when the sun comes out is absolutely fizzy: I’ll take this as a great Christmas scene any day over ten shopping malls playing freeze-dried carols.
Sorry for all you holiday travelers, but I hope it snows again. And again.