A Summer Dream of a Venetian Winter | Mark Lindsay

Usually, the newspaper has a perfunctory little story on the longest day of the year. It usually starts out with, "Today is the longest day of the year," or other such witty prose. Newspapers have a habit of repeating things incessantly like little children who have just learned a new word. Another repeated annoyance is the proclamation at the start of California's fire season. "This year is predicted to be the worst fire season on record." Every year is predicted to be the worst fire season on record.

Back to the longest day of the year. This year I didn't see the little article. I wasn't even sure exactly which day was the longest day of the year. This disoriented me because I like to keep track of such things. Like the Druids, I appreciate both the solstice and the equinox. If the newspaper can remind us of fire season it can certainly keep track of the longest day of the year.

In any case, I had a dream the other night on what I figured, based on my own calculations, was the shortest night of the year (which, of course, should coincide with the longest day of the year). It was a dream of the opposite solstice—the winter solstice. As we were in Venice for the last solstice before this one, the dream was in a Venetian alley. And because the location was in Venice, the dream was in color.

This year the gap between solstices seemed shorter than ever. It simply cannot be that my last, soggy footstep in Venice was already six months ago. I long for my return but waiting for it will seem very long indeed—like a child waiting for Santa. In any case, now the summer solstice too has come and gone, And a night of Venetian dreams is always to be honored. When I awoke I tried to find a photograph that came close to the essence of this dream of the solstice. I present it to you here.