Reflecting on Life as Night Falls in Venice

Venice at Night

Giudecca Dog Walk © Jed Smith

Life and beauty aren’t always found in brilliant light.

Maybe this is a brief, passing phase, but I’m finding myself increasingly fascinated with the “darker side” of existence. Night falls, literally and metaphorically, in life and we have the choice to resist the dark or explore, with curiosity, its gifts.

My photography, my camera is my journal.

Recently, a dear friend and accomplished photographer came to visit. The photo above was taken just after we had toured an inspiring photo exhibition of Willy Ronis at Tre Oci on the Giudecca in Venice. Many of the photos were masterful renderings of how night falls in various settings. I was inspired, and I promised myself I would double my resolve to learn the ropes of capturing nighttime photography. I also realized that this fascination with the darker side of life mirrors my willingness to face my shadow side.

What particularly drew me to the above scene was the man leisurely walking his dog and pausing under a street lamp while the stacks of platforms that become the emergency sidewalks when Venice has high water ominously wait to be put to use.

Night falls on our ideas about how life should be, how it should progress.

I’m done with chasing perennial sunshine and bright colors. Don’t get me wrong, those things haven’t lost their appeal. They’ve just been too much of my focus. Carl Jung spoke eloquently and profusely about the importance of integrating our shadow sides on the path of wholeness. So, I’m leaning into that theory with my art and photography. I’m not being morbid or pessimistic, I’m just seeking to balance the scales.

And, what a wonderful way, as an artist, to let Venice be my inspiration and guide.

This comes at a good time in my life. I’m closing the door on things that I thought were the path to joy. And, and that is A-okay.

When night falls, we can be pointed in new, unexplored directions.

What brings me joy? What catapults me out of the same old same old? I’m all for finding out.

This post may seem like it’s a non-sequitur with my recent posts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still enthused about sharing my Italian experiences. But, as life would have it, I’ve hit some speed bumps, some changes, that cause tell me to pull over, to put on my emergency blinkers, and pause on the highway of life. Time to lean back in my seat, take some deep breaths before signaling that I’m ready to hit the gas and pull back into the current of living.

Life is good. Possibilities are endless.

Though night falls, I remember this. Always. And, I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings and what new adventures lie ahead.