This was on my mind, among many other things, while wandering around and meditating on the dead on All Souls’ Day in Venice last week.
There was so much color. Italians still go and visit cemeteries on this day, imbued with the spirit of their ancestors. They appear lighter on this day, or so it seems to me.
San Michele is awfully atmospheric, a sacred place full of charm. So easy to arrive, just a short trip on the vaporetto to this Venetian lagoon, and well worth the effort. This is why I go each year to visit the maestro. And there was Diaghilev, with ballet shoes, fresh flowers and candle lit long before I arrived.
I was on my out when I found a parade of very official Italians making their way to the church to prepare for a ceremony. I stopped and listened. Watched the men line up and loved the feathers…
Then I saw the Cardinal of Venice walk down to the front of the church. He appeared to be in good form as he led the prayers. He was facing the Italian Bersaglieri: a specialised unit in the Italian Army.
These Italian sharpshooters have a motto. In Latin – Ictu impetuque primus. Which translates to – “first in striking and assaulting”. The Italian constitution states the Italians can only go to war if attacked first. So there was a method in learning about the Bersaglieri I suppose.
I took in all the color and stopped to see a few ancient faces in black and white photographs, engraved into the stone above each grave. I meditated on own ancestors, my favorite friends now gone. This trip coincided with my 59th birthday. Gosh, life happens so fast.
There was so much to see. I was so grateful to be there. And meditate on what’s important in life…be kind.