23
Jun
11

Chance Encounters

It’s a little surreal. I sit in my small but comfortable apartment in Vienna. It is raining – but only lightly. The windows are open, the breeze is cool, and across the one-way and narrow street, a pianist practices. The music is beautiful and interrupted only occasionally by the fastidious repetition of what must be precisely choreographed arpeggios on the keyboard. His windows are open, but I can’t see him. I do know, however that he plays in the house where Franz Schubert died. The music – ironically is that of Mozart.

It gives cause to consider the person beyond the window: the details and complexity of a life going on and my fortuitous placement in this place and at this time.

Me and theVenus(es) – there has to be something to this.

The last time that it rained here, I visited the Naturhistoriches Mueseum. There is something about being alone among the art and artifacts of history and greatness. The jewel of the Museum of Natural History in Vienna is undoubtedly the Venus of Willendorf. It is the most famous early image of a human. And, at just under 26,000 years old,  it is the oldest representation of a human being. That being significant enough – I found as I was looking, that I was the only person in the room. Without argument, the most recognizable icon and artistic representation of humanity in the history of man, and I am the only person on the planet standing in front of her. Not just a moment or two between groups –  for almost twenty minutes . . . not a soul entered the gallery – not even a museum guard. Perhaps stranger, I have had a 1:1 experiences in Florence with Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and in Paris with the Venus di Milo. Alone in the presence of iconic Venus(es).  I wish that it meant something significant. With Lady Willendorf, the feeling is “older” and perhaps in some way more significant.  At four and three-eighths inches tall, she is magnificent.

In a few hours I am off to Apartment 30 upstairs where I am expected for drinks – precisely at five o’clock. I have been invited by a sweet and amiable couple from Australia. Well into their eighties: she quite chatty and he with an enthusiastic smile and an immediate story to tell. We met yesterday on the entryway of the apartment house. We spoke only for a few minutes and delighted in the immediate companionship of being foreigners together – each with enthusiastic appreciation for the homeland of the other. They have traveled the world together in their twenty-five years of retirement – and have chosen Vienna as their final trip abroad. They are delighted and they are delightful. Hopefully their photos to follow.

In the meantime – other encounters of beauty and chance.


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