The sun is almost directly overhead and it is approaching the hottest
part of the day. You decide to walk on the river side of the street. The
sidewalk is broad and there are various vendors out selling all sorts
of things that are laid out on blankets or on small tables. You stop at
a small bookstall and flip through an assortment of museum prints. Many
you recognize as being part of some larger work. You come across a print
of Botteccelli's Venus, but just the face of Venus. You think of the faces
of the young women you had seen earlier in the day. You see a connection.
By this time you have listened to a litany of deals offered by the young
merchant. You pay no attention to his patter and continue to look at the
posters. After another moment you move on.
The river is low and it is a long way down to the water. The river moves
along slowly and looks so tamed. The banks are like the banks of all rivers
that flow through old cities. There is very little that separates the
city of man and nature. It is hard to believe that this the most human
of rivers, the Arno, could rage against its brethren. You remember hearing
about the great flood of 1966 in church. They were asking for money to
aid in the reconstruction of the city after a massive spring flood that
nearly destroyed the city and certainly damaged many masterpieces. You
look to the buildings across the street and you see the flood line on
the facades.. It must be at least ten feet from the sidewalk and the river
is at least another fifty feet down .That's a lot of water.
What day is it, you ask yourself. You have lost the need to know the
day of the week about two cities ago. You stop to look at two young boys
fishing on the bank. It is grassy there not rocky or bricked like along
most of the river. They are about ten years old or so. They had simple
long poles with a line tied to the end. What kind of fish would they find
in this river. In a moment one of the boys starts shouting. His line was
tight and the pole was bent. He had something. He began to step back up
the bank pulling the line out of the water. Soon a silver fish that looked
like a large sardine was flopping on the bank. The boy reached down and
expertly grabbed the fish by the head and threw it in a plastic pail he
had sitting there. You can see that this was not the first fish caught
today. You then realize it is Saturday, a perfect day to be out fishing.
You want to shout out to the boys to remember this day. But then you think
maybe it is special only to you because you will not be by this way again
and this image is what you will have of this time and it is you who will
remember this moment lived by these two boys. Their youth forever sealed
in your memory.
You remember your camera tucked into your pocket and realize you have
yet to take a photo. The boys had resumed their pose, standing on the
bank poles held out and line in the water. As good a scene was not likely
to come by. You hold the viewfinder to your eye and there you see the
yellow outline of the picture field. The view loses something in translation,
you say to yourself. You push the button and feel the snap of the shutter.