I know that going on a trip may seem like no big deal but first of all I am going without my Love. Not that I can't handle a plane trip over the big wide ocean for hours and hours packed in like a sardine. Not that I can't handle carrying my bag / backpack. Not that I can't handle money even if it is not American. Not that I would forget or lose my Passport. Not that I can't sleep without him at night in a strange room. No, I think I will be just fine.
Of course I do have butterfly's fluttering away at times when I think about getting off the airplane at the Venice airport and E. and I having to find the bus that will take us to the main area that we can find our hotel. After all I will be drunkenly sleepy at that point crossed with an adrenaline rush of WE ARE IN VENICE! Just a little flutter....it will pass. Then I will be bursting with the intoxication of seeing a place I have longed to see, smell, hear and taste ever since my Love talked about when he went there in 1971. I wanted to go on our honeymoon but the heat and crowds of summer didn't appeal to either of us so we went to Florence which I fell in love with.
Once we step foot onto the streets, walkways of Venice E. and I will begin our adventure. Yes, I bought a map, not that I can read it with the small print, but E. has perfect vision and I will follow her. Lead on E., lead on.... How can I describe the joy of this trip! How I only wish this could be a trip with all three of my daughters. I could travel with each on their own and gather a different experience, a time that would open and deepen our relationships. Someday...and someday R. will be with us too. I know he would have loved to go but it just wasn't the time, not this trip.
E. and I on this journey to places not known till we go to our last stop, Florence, before we fly home. There we will go to the familiar sites, to climb to the top of the Duomo and I will feel faint and anxiety will riddle my soul as I look up at Heaven and Hell of the Last Judgement painted by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari. On our honeymoon when my Love and I climbed the vast and what felt like endless stairs, when we came to the opening that looked out at the perimeter of the dome at the top, my stomach dropped. I had never been so high up and on a walk area so narrow, that hugged half way around the dome. Those years when there was only a rail that kept visitors from plunging over. Yes! I shakily tried to take photos up and of down to the floor and through it all breath. When we went back in 2001 I fretted all the way up with my family, fearing yet excited to see it all once again. I worried about making sure someone was holding R.'s little hand as he was all of 5 years old. Thankfully or not they had added a plexiglass screen that seemed to be about 7 ft tall. No falling over....my stomach still felt weak and my heart raced. I could hardly handle this but I did and shared this experience with joy to be with this family I love so much at a place that I felt such a mystery to be drawn to. The age, the history, the views. Oh the views...as we walked outside after a short steep climb up the last stairs between the walls of the dome. Spread before us Florence.
|No plexiglass in 1977|
|Looking down from the rail...me with my fear of heights!|
Venice...yes, Venice. Unknown except by other people's photos and videos. I can't imagine seeing this without my Love but I am beyond thrilled to be going even if we won't be together. I know he understands. I know he will be thinking of all we are seeing and doing. He is with me, I will see for both of us.
One thing that I know to be true, you can't put off life. You can't forever put off tomorrow and dreams. If you do you will have only "I wish I had...." till you are blue in the face. I don't have tile on the backside behind my cooktop...so what. I don't have a new kitchen...so what. I don't need it all. I don't ask for it all. I don't expect all. Travel? What does travel mean to the soul? For me it makes me feel alive. I know that this gift of this trip would not have happened except because of this last year. A gift I will treasure for all the days of my life.