Venice lost its buildings tonight. The odd cornice glistened above. Here and there, balconies bracketed shuttered windows, adrift in the air. Streetlights were halo'ed spheres illuminating half of a dock, or a few doorways. Fog cloaked the city in its depths, obscuring roads, canals, and buildings with equinaminity. Boats were paired pinpricks of lights, their presence registering nothing else. Voices echoed clear and close through the dimness. From the train station, we couldn't see the bridge. At all. From the balcony, we can scarcely make out the nearer bridge, and the boats are shadowed ghosts docked on the water.
The fog isn't a local one, for it blanketed all of northern Italy tonight. Florence, usually a haven for fog only in the summer, was awash with it. At Bologna, it exaserbated the death toll from a signal failure-created crash between a passenger and a freight train, hampering rescue efforts; last I heard, the death toll stood at eighteen. The fog drifted through Rovigo and hushed the shapes of Padova.
Although this vast writhe of cloud encompasses so much land, its effect is to make everything very immediate, very local. Sounds are clearer, and vistas intimate. A small piece of the world is very close tonight; my eyes can't see any further.