Friday, July 29, 2011

Roof of the world

 There are lessons to be learnt, on your way to the top.
Firstly, that patience is its own reward.
From the balcony on the Mole Antonelliana (built 1863-89 yada yada yada), you can see the whole of Turin. You can see how it's made, and what it's made of.
Roads along Roman lines, for one thing. Elegant porticoes and squares, for another. 
Lots of red, white, and green.
For a five-year-old, it's the chance to talk about the nature of fear, and civic pride, and how sometimes people cut in line, and you just have to let them do it, but you don't have to be pleased about it.
It's a chance to see the point of mathematics, and think about speed and capacity, when figuring out how long we're all going to have to wait until it's our turn to go up in the lift.
It'a a chance to discover, with an air of disappointment that may stay with him for the rest of his life, that what grown-ups call  'the top' of a building doesn't actually mean the top. The teeny tiny pointy bit, his uncle reasons, would snap off if we all went up there.
It's a chance for me to eavesdrop, and to share an unspoken thought: huh, to hell with 'all', I want to go to the top.
Not really. I hold my breath, and look over the side, but only for a moment.
High is high enough.
This is of course Turin's tallest building, a squared dome, a grey island sitting in a sea of terracotta roofs.
Up here, you have a sense of place, whether you're looking off towards the misty Alps,
... or at Superga,  that solid, white reminder of  Il Grande Torino, a tragedy played out close to home in every sense.
This is the roof of their world, and the torinesi are rightly proud of it.
Everyone should get high in Turin.

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