Screen Savers Save the Day
Some days you just don't want to be here. Some days you just want to be, oh, say, in Venice, which is where I am right this second.
Well, not physically in Venice; no, life is not that bountiful just at the moment, but my screen saver is a wonderful shot of the Grand Canal.
It is a late afternoon shot with the bank on the left in mainly shadow while the bank on the right has that glorious butter yellow of a late fall day. A bit like Canaletto's paintings or Caravaggio. I think it is late fall judging from the jackets on the various people walking around and the lack of tourists.
I have been to Venice a number of times, and I love it. I live in Pinehurst and I love it, but one has to be honest, Dear Reader, I -sometimes yearn for Venice. The crowds don't bother me there because we are at leisure.
It must be said the Darling Husband is fluent in Italian, so my world is made easier. My French helps me get the gist of some things, but it is really D.H. who does all the talking.
I am quieter in Venice - because I have to be. And that is one of the beauties of Venice or anyplace I do not know the language, so I have to shut up.
Some days one learns a good deal more about oneself and Darling Husband by being "along for the ride" linguistically. I bask in his fluency, and I have far less responsibility in a land where I am mute.
Of course many Italians speak fair to very fluent English, but I rather like the quiet of not speaking and not being in charge of much of anything.
I become a "dumb blonde" abroad (please, no letters in praise of blondes ... some of my best friends ... well, dumb is the point) and I don't mean the mute part.
I know less when language is taken from me. Being mute allows me to float and at the same time forces me to focus and learn, be mindful and observe more. I had better be able to know my way home because I can't formulate a question or understand the answer. I love it!
So, on any given day when I feel a bit overwhelmed, I take a few minutes to cruise the Grand Canal, relieve the tension of the day and remember. Or plan a trip we may or may not take. I just gaze at Venice.
I have a theory that is far from unique, that even in retirement we do not rest our brains, souls and bodies enough. We rush from one thing to the next still on a schedule of our own making (no one is more guilty of this than I am), and we do not float enough. Americans have a terrible habit of thinking of any form of rest to be laziness. Whereas do we not need a mental and physical nap from time to time?
In the hurly-burly of life as you rush to the airport or drive for hours and hours to join many people to do many things, try to carve out a little time to go to Venice - or Paris - or anywhere that brings you joy. Take a mental trip, breath deeply and find the quiet of being in a land where you must be mute. Return to listening, observing and falling in love with your life all over again.
Screen savers are great if they can help you do this, and trust me, no one will appreciate your calmness more than those you love.
Joyce Reehling lives in Pinehurst. She retired here from New York after a 33-year career in theater, TV and commercials.
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