well-spent

L’acqua che tochi de fiumi, è l’ultima di quella che andò, e la prima di quelle che viene; così il tempo presente. La vita bene spesa lunga è.

Leonardo da Vinci, Note 1174

here’s my translation [eager for improvements from my Italian-speaking friends]

The water you touch in a river
is the last that has passed
and the first that is coming;
so with the present moment.

The well-spent life is long.

7 thoughts on “well-spent”

  1. Just to train your Italian:

    Ottima la traduzione. Leonardo era un pensatore: logico, ma anche intuitivo e di tipo visivo. Ed e’ essenzialmente questo che lo distingue. Ha lavorato molto sui fiumi come ingegnere, ma anche in pittura. Guarda, si puo’ dire che il Logos della Gioconda stia di fatto nel paesaggio fluviale, dell’Arno. Nella nota 1174 del Trattato, la nota che hai citata, l’acqua e’ usata come figura emblematica dei passaggi atemporali del destino umano. Leonardo era si’ logico-intuitivo, ma trattava di matematica e alchimia allo stesso tempo. Era piuttosto superstizioso. Quindi il senso di azzeramento temporale che da la figura dell’acqua che arriva ai fiumi e’ affine a all’idea di ripresa di continuo mutar delle cose che ben conosciamo anche in altre culture. Il discorso sarebbe piu’ lungo, dico, sui fiumi e Leonardo….ma sono sempre alla Apple e non mi danno abbastanza tempo. Di buono c’e’ che , comunque vadano le cose, il fiume scorre…

  2. Hi Eve,

    How very good it is to check in and learn you’re back on the the water! Last evening overlooking the river it is cresting toward flood now. The current is very fast, its surface a concave swirling sheen seemingly at eye level and brutish in aspect. Very aggressive looking and a bit menacing, overfilled with the spring melt. So today I looked here for you again and found all these wonderful musings, careful, gentle counterpoints. Your musical beginning seems perfect as a rain, drops and more drops, patterning gradually, naturally, simply. Rain introducing river. We are very simple rain too aren’t we? Rain becoming river, simple persons becoming people. So good to be with you again, your writing and singing and playing again. I’ve missed you!

    Nick

  3. OK, so I tripped across this Leonardo thing and it’s 1:30 in the am but of course I’m awake so I had to play around with the translation and came up with this abstract meandering….

    River Water
    touches you

    Lasting drops that float astray

    Swirling streams and ions brew
    Brooks and gushers make their way

    Past and future streams collide
    Blending in their crystal hue
    Sunlight fuses and divides

    And who’s to say what’s old and new?

    Yet in between – in mode sublime
    Rest flowing moments,
    Fixed in time.

    —–PS….Can’t wait to hear all the music that arose from your aqueous adventure!

  4. Susan, Vittoria, Nick, Liane thank you all for your comments and feedback… Liane for yr excellent late-night musings, beloved Nick in the rain (I’m working on a song with rain in it just now for Mary, rain and trees…), and Vittoria, thanks for the Italian practice and Leonardo insights… wow!

  5. I speak mostly French and do not understand much of what you are saying but thank you. I used translation google to translate and a lot of words got muddled.

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