Archive for libeccio



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Compare this sunset view to the one of two days ago. No exegesis required.

Compare this sunset view to the one of two days ago.  No comment required.

Yes, the haze has evaporated, or migrated, or flown — anyway, it’s gone.

Yesterday afternoon the wind veered around to the northeast, where the bora lurks.  A northeast wind may be fierce, and even dangerous, and whatever else you want to call it (especially if you live on the northeastern edge of the city, where you get it straight in the teeth), but I call it just about my favorite wind.

Perhaps you have never thought about the various winds, and their characteristics.  Here’s a thumbnail:  “Scirocco,” southeast wind.  Warm and damp and, if it’s strong, it becomes an unindicted co-conspirator of acqua alta.

“Garbin,” southwest wind, known in Italian as libeccio.  Its special trick is to bring fog — I mean real fog, not the haze of the past few weeks.  It can also blow like blue blazes.

“Bora,” northeast wind.  Cold and dry.  That’s why I love it.  I can deal with the cold, as long as it brings the dry.  As for force, it can be ferocious, though here we don’t usually get the extremes that can make the bora life-threatening in Trieste.  Not made up.

There are many fine variations of wind as you work your way around the compass, but those are my main players.  When I look at the weather forecast, I don’t primarily care whether it says rain or sun, or even cold or hot. I look to see which direction the wind is predicted to come from, and its speed.  I can deduce most of the other attributes from that, at least as far as my modest needs are concerned.

Oh sorry, that was redundant.  All my needs are, by definition, modest.  Example: Comes the bora, Erla is happy.  You can’t get much simpler than that, at least if you’re a person who really doesn’t care about rubies and platinum and Densuke black watermelons and lavender albino ball pythons, like humble, honest, hard-working, plain-speaking little me.

Turning the other direction, I see not only sun, but shadows, for the first time in several eons.  Not only is this air you can breathe, it's air that knows what to do with your laundry.

Turning the other direction, I see not only sun, but shadows, for the first time in several eons. This isn’t just  air you can breathe, it’s air that knows what to do with your laundry.  You can’t see me here, but believe me, I’m happy.

Categories : Venetian-ness
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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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