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There goes summer

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We knew it couldn’t last, all that sun and warmth and autumnal glow.

And it didn’t.

Friday morning we woke up early to the insistent clattering of the Venetian blinds against the window.  The message they were tapping out was “Let us in, it’s cold out here.”

As you see, the wind hasn't stopped everybody from working. You should know, however, that when Lino was a lad -- before motors made everybody feel invincible -- everybody would still have gone to work on a day like this, rowing. Not made up. There were farmers on the mainland who rowed to Venice every morning -- extremely early in the morning, too. No snow days, no parental slips, as in "Please excuse my son from rowing to Venice this morning with the milk, there's too much wind." People didn't think that way.

Did I say wind?  We got to the vaporetto in record time, rushed along by a powerful southwest wind known officially as the libeccio but here is called garbin (gar-BEEN).  What was happening was a highly invigorating “garbinata.”

The lagoon was having a seizure.  Between the waves caused by the wind and those created by boats with motors, the water didn’t know which way it was supposed to go, so it pretty much went everywhere.

This is a man who has tremendous confidence in his boat, and himself. An obstreperous wave or gust could easily change all that.

But we knew it wasn’t going to go on for long, because when the tide turned the wind was going to turn too,  leaving the stage for the next performer, its opposite number, a northeast wind officially known as the grecale but here is called borin (bore-EEN).

This has been ordained by the Great Ordainer and is so dependable a phenomenon that there’s a phrase that goes with it: “Garbin ciama borin” (gar-BEEN chama bor-EEN): the southwest wind “calls” the northeast wind.

It also rained for several hours in a sort of “Get it all out, you’ll feel better” kind of way.

I certainly felt better. I loved hearing the rain, it was visit from a long-lost friend.  And I’d say that even if I had had to be out in it.  You know me.

It didn't matter which way you were heading -- everybody was in the same fix.

And spare a thought for the working stiffs ashore. This poor bastard had been sent out by himself to tie down the big banner announcing something important. The top edge is supposed to be lashed to the supports at his feet. I didn't watch for long because it seemed rude, and I might have offered to help except that I seriously doubted I'd be able to. It would have been like offering to help somebody furl the mainsail in a gale.


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