Pets & Friar Poets….
A few weeks ago Amanda and I visited a small town in the Veneto region of Italy called Arquà Petrarca. Aside from the name of the town being incredibly difficult for me to pronounce with my flat Texan accent, it was a neat experience. The town is named after Francesco Petrarca, who died there in the late 1300s. He was know uniquely as both a deeply religious and creative man. He operated in multiple societal domains at the same time—this was not so common during that time. Poetry and writing were his making outlets of choice—and—apparently he loved the ladies a little too much for total religious piety. We learned that many credit him for sparking the Italian Renaissance with his humanist beliefs / works, which is pretty incredible. There was a calming creative energy that could be felt in the town. It’s situated in an area of volcanic activity, and uniquely shaped peaks can be seen all around. Because of this, there are natural thermal baths. We stayed at a BnB that had access to these and I have to admit it was super relaxing—the Prosecco we brought probably helped with that ( none of that was photographed 😀 ).
I didn’t take many photos, but I was pleased with what I did frame. These were mainly small details that stood out to me as we walked the town—mainly curious splashes of color and aged textures—both natural and human-made. Less vacation photos. I’m certainly no Rick Steves, although I’ll probably look like him when I get old. I suspect you can google the town if you wanted to see some stock travel photos or consult Rick. A-hem…the city was absolutely picturesque, but one thing we did notice was the prevalence of smog in the area. We’ve driven through the Veneto region many times and have noticed this almost every time. We read that the lack of wind combined with the prevalence of industry and agriculture in area creates a haze the often lingers low in the cloud ceiling. Bummer. You can see it in the photos if you look at the sky, although the Walker Evans in me framed it out when possible with the camera.
We’ve adopted a new Italian friend (photo above). His name is Pinotto, Pinot for short. Pinotto is essentially Italian Castello from the Abbott and Castello we know in the U.S. He appears to be a mix between a Corgi and some kind of Terrier. This was his first weekend trip with us. Aside from some pretty moderate separation anxiety and weariness of the car he did amazing. He’s still adjusting with us, but seems to be getting more comfortable every day. It feels strange having a dog again after or last dog, Lexi passed away around 8 months ago. I can’t say I was ready for another, but I suppose I’m adjusting every day along with Pinotto. He’s a very sweet little guy—and photogenic.
Going back to Francesco Petrarca to bring this thing in for a wobbly landing…I like this idea of someone who is able to hold many things at one time. Not so much a specialist, but a generalist in all things spiritual—be it creativity, philosophy, or religion. I’ve never identified as a specialist, although I’ve had several folks tell me I should be for a career in academia. Guess that’s maybe why I decided to pause that for now to practice. I’ve always had diverse interests…and an ability to laser focus on one thing until I become proficient. Learning Italian has by far been the most difficult endeavor I’ve taken on to date—and I love the existential challenge. I’m still terrible at speaking, but I’m not giving up, damn it. Small daily gains, people. Traditionally, when I become proficient in something I’m generally ready to move on to the next thing. And yet, somehow—and at some point—the important things I’ve learned tend to rise to the surface like air bubbles from ocean depths synthesize into strange physical outcomes that somehow feel cogent. I never thought I’d be riding a vintage enduro motorcycle through Italy or working as a Graphic Designer at an Air Force Base…or letterpress printing on a Vandercook SP-15 with Dan Rhatigan—in Italy! I suspect the creative energy I felt in Arcquà Petrarca might have had something to do with this concept of being an enthusiastic creative generalist—trusting and focusing on process, but who knows. That’s enough rambling on a Saturday evening. I hope you enjoy the photos—Ciao.