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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

La Nebbia di Firenze

Remember all that sunny sun sunshine I was talking about? It was like a special present for me when I arrived. My black jacket soaked up the sun like a sun sponge and made it possible to read in the piazzas even when I could see my breath. The only thing not so great about the sun was that when I disappeared into the streets that radiated from the piazzas, I stepped into deep shadows from the tall buildings everywhere.

Piazza Repubblica. Also, the sun.

I don’t have to worry about that anymore, the shadows. Now they’re everywhere. There is no sun. Instead, a small phenomenon has occurred. Florence is cloaked in fog.

And I don’t mean the fog in the Bay or on Willows Road that dissipates around mid-day. This fog has staying power (like my tears, remember? Oh, to be self-referential…).

In all the time I lived here before, it wasn’t foggy once. Not once. This is a complete surprise to me, and continues to be each day I wake up to the pale colors outside that seemed to have been bled by some color-hating mortician.

View to the East of Piazzale Michelangelo.

I would like to challenge Google and Bing (sorry, Microsoft) to a weather prediction competition, as they have been wrong on several, several occasions. I would like to point out that 70 degrees F and sunny does not, in fact, look like this:

And 60 degrees F and “partly cloudy” does not, at all, look like this:

Taken at 2 PM. Bridge in foreground: Ponte Trinita'; bridge in background: Ponte Vecchio, the only bridge to survive WWII. 
Tomorrow is supposed to be “58 and sunny.” Hm. I am skeptical. 

However, despite the cold that the fog has brought, there is a new look to the city. It’s almost other-worldly. In a way, I think this is a good thing. I am most decidedly not studying abroad again. This is not the same experience it was two years ago; it would be impossible to recreate it. This time, the city is not holding my sadness and is not charged with taking care of me. Commerce happens here, there are other, different, students here that need Florence’s attention. I am different now, and it’s ok to let Florence go.

The fog is a way to let go of what I’ve been holding onto so tightly. I’ve come back to Florence like I always said I would, and now I can leave. My sage friend, Sara, prepared me so well for this return. We studied together two years ago, and we were chatting one night about coming back to Florence before we’d even left.

“Sara, we should all come back sometime soon and do this again.”

“Yes, we should. But it can’t ever be the same again.” She smiled and I think I only paused for a moment to take in what she had said, but even then, I knew she was right. Emily Dickinson said, “That it should never come again is what makes it so sweet.” Sara and Emily would have gotten along well together.

Florence had been my security blanket, and now I can release it into the blanket of fog and say goodbye for now. There are so many broken hearts here already, I shouldn’t crowd the space any more with my heart—finally—intact.

Which means: onto Perugia! I will be leaving Thursday or Friday, and will go only for a night. Hopefully, I’ll be greeted by blankets of sun and undulating hills. Or fog. 

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