Faded Fingerprints

2005. I was enchanted by the pixels of color dotting the Italian landscape. I adored the old buildings and crumbling walls with all of their cracks and imperfections. I never tired of looking at the patina on the walls in every shade of pink, orange, and yellow that spread like buttercream on stucco. No faux painting technique can capture the authenticity of that which only the expanse of time and exposure to the elements can create. 

Years later, I am still enchanted by the phenomenon of color and chemistry that leaves its faded fingerprint of the past. The Italians share the sentiment. They consider patina a national treasure and take great care to protect and preserve the layers of character; making it nearly impossible to alter without government consent. 

The Italian was not as enamoured. He had grown tired of the old and weathered buildings of his youth and longed for the sleek and shiny high-rises of the modern world. I am content to wander the Impressionistic streets of millennia past.                        

But I wonder how long this beauty will light my imagination before I too see it through a different lens.  How long before the charm of imperfection erodes and you regard a thing as tired and mundane.

More importantly, how long does it take for our own quirky imperfections that once amused our partners to transform into undesirable flaws- a byproduct of time and neglect. 

How do you keep looking at something old with new eyes? I think the Italians are on to something. Don’t mess with it and in a hundred years you’ll have an interesting facade.

 2005. The soft haze of the morning sun shone on the fresco, illuminating the tiny droplets of moisture that spun in the air and danced playfully before the paint’s magical glow. He kept walking. I brought my camera to my eye and adjusted the focus. This fresco had existed here for hundreds of years but I was sure it had never looked like this.

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