As my parents traipse through Venice, I'm thinking back to the my own impressions of that city.
Venice is an old woman, once soft and ripe, but now cracked and withered. The salt air is corroding her.
Venice is an old man, creaky and decrepit. Once magnificent, he is now crumbling, struggling to avoid collapse.
Venice is no longer Tazio, Thomas Mann's tempting adolescent. Those days are long gone.
Yet Venice remains, and the throngs still visit, and still marvel. Though falling into the sea, Venice remains, proud and old, feeble, yet resolute. In a culture that venerates all that is young, Venice shouts,
"I am old, but I am beautiful! I am the only one of my kind, and when I am gone, there will be nothing to replace me!"
Venice is on life support, just as we, too will eventually need life support. Our younger loved ones will prop us up and try to extend our life for a few more months, a few more years, even though we're well past our expiration date. We will follow their wishes, just to make them happy, even though we know we've lived a good life and are ready to move along.
But before we reach that stage, perhaps it is Venice that will teach us how to grow old.