Sur-real adj.1 of, related to, or characteristic of surrealism 2 bizarre; fantastic; grotesque 3 pertaining to a consciousness of being;  usually associated with intake of incredible views, exclusive to a brilliantly blue Italian sky crowning the San Marco Basilica in Venice

Surreal, indeed...

Only the unique combination of events, times, seasons, and DNA could create the surrealism within the heart of a small-town prairie girl gazing at San Marco Piazza on that day, at that moment.

The sky was bluer than blue - a rich tapestry woven from Italian arias, Tuscan vineyards, and Umbrian hillsides, it set off the fantastic spires of the basilica to perfection.

My neck was hurting - craning my head this way and that, it complained of the agitated use it was put to, and reminded me that to slow down, inhale, ingest, feel, and process was not to be rushed or taken advantage of.

No, these moments were to be savored, like the last piece of chocolate cake in the pan - a lingering sweetness to feed the senses for a lifetime, stored in the memory like faithful photographs.

Sensory overload...so much to view, ponder, memorize, like trying to choose only one flavor for your cone at a 500-variety ice cream stand.

The infinite variety of infinite details in each carved post of the Doge's Palace, the intricately designed biblical figures racing around each pedestal, performing their histories in mute artistic appeal, the pigeons and people and vendors, all combined into a melody of operatic proportions.  I wanted to learn its notes.  I wanted to sing along.  I wanted to become one with its cadences and structure, rise and fall, pathos and energy.

I loved it all...

There were sections of walkways, trusses, gangplanks if you will, lined up in preparation of fall floods, which plague the square in November and December.  The floods themselves were absent - they held off their appearance, perhaps for the sake of one small tourist on her virginal journey, nodding a sage wise head, holding her waters behind her skirts, delaying the deluge for the day.

So instead of treading water, I placed my Canadian feet on ancient stones.  I gaped like a school-girl.  I snapped pictures like a frenzied maniac.  I quickly learned to say "Excuse me!" Italian style - for in my slack-jawed tourist guise, I was so starry-eyed, looking about with such intensity that I never saw my fellow tourists (until I had inadvertently stepped upon well-groomed shoe or brushed their broad backs).   And for once, this Clumsy Traveler didn't care.

I was in Venice...