"Il tempo del viaggio e della vacanza è tempo opportuno per coltivare lo spirito, per soddisfare il desiderio di colloquio interiore e di ritrovamento di sé." Thus tells me the cover page of the bible I found in my hotel room, and for some reason, the idea has resonance with me despite my disinclination to pursue the remainder of the text. I'll pursue my own "interior colloquy" and cultivate my spirit in my own way, I guess.
I walked, and walked, and walked today, but remain uninterested in seeking out the more conventional touristic experiences Trieste offers, although I did bump into James on the bridge over the grand canal (don't imagine something Venetian – Trieste's Grand Canal is just a wet spot in a square off the old harbor, nothing more). Actually, it was a bronze of Mr. Joyce, perambulating the city where he left his soul, by his own report. Trieste's most famous modern son was an adoptee, but no less a son for that.
The Adriatic was no longer grey but a cobalty-bluish-green, sparkling under the sun. It wasn't warm – I stepped in more than one puddle crusted with ice, despite the clear skies and it being already early afternoon. The digital display on a bank told me it was 1 degree celsius. I stopped to watch the great ships as they pushed through the water in the distance, and noticed that the bluffs and mountain peaks lurking on edge of the sea to the north (toward Udine and, ultimately, Austria) were draped in snow all the way down to curving horizon. About half a dozen seagulls swooped around a landward-facing statue, a dull corroded green-looking sailor.
Walking a little further, I found the boat marina, and admired some of the sailboats parked there. Perhaps someday…. I found myself reflecting on another long trip, when I was in Valdivia, in Chile, admiring the sailboats parked there in the Rio Calle-Calle. It wasn't as cold there, but it was damp and had been raining. I have these Schopenhauerian moments – pessimism about the human condition, but not defeatism, per se. More like a romanticist's apotheosis through suffering, tied to the eventual abolition of personal will. Abolition of will? Or is it triumph? "Por Schopenhauer, que acaso descifró el universo." – Thus Borges
Unlike my Chilean friend of those many years ago – Kamel was a meditative human-rights lawyer in what was then an only recently post-pinochetized country – I'm not a convinced schopenhauerian, however. Perhaps I should be, but… something is missing… something. I wish I were better at staying in touch with people.