The fascination of this place
is not about what there is
but about what is missing.

This is not a cliché.

April 2014

01 April 2014


"What will the weather be like?" is the question guests ask me most. Just as often I reply to their enquiry that I have no idea. It’s the truth: to know is not that important. I am lucky enough to be a hotelier and at times I feel obliged to have a look at the forecast. The other day for example it was forecast that there would be another 30-50 centimetres of snow.
“I reflected that the experts, full of forecasts as they are, deprive us of part of our future: we believe that they help us to live better but it is not really so.”
However, although there were large innocuous clouds hanging high it was the sunshine which broke through. And more besides, the tree outside my office was showing the first signs of  blossom. "What’s going on  - I asked myself – it is supposed to be snowing, isn’t it?" We common mortals had been yet again completely fooled that day: the forecast had been inaccurate. How was it possible? How confusing and disturbing! Almost earth shattering in consequence. Nowadays the situation is exacerbated for an innacurate forecast results in a general blackout. Aldo Leopold, father of scientific environmentalism, noted that "the average citizen believes that science knows how to make the mechanisms of the community function, whereas the scientist knows very well that he does not know how". You see, even the scientists get it wrong at times! In fact I reflected that the experts, full of forecasts as they are, deprive us of part of our future: we believe that they help us to live better but it is not really so. When their forecasts are right they take some of the emotion from our experience and when they are wrong we are disappointed and a little bitter. In this way we lose something of the pleasure  – and at times the pain – of the surprise. Our curiosity is dampened – curiosity that is in the sense of curiositas, meaning the propensity to take interest in that which is happening around us, the pleasure to live an experience, to open our eyes wide in disbelief when faced with something which just a moment or two ago was very far from our conscience. When all is finetuned and programmed we forget those magical moments which make our heart skip a beat. As far as weather forecasting goes – most of the time it being accurate – we resort to the hope of an easier life, even of a marvellous life even. Isn’t it all a bit of a trick? What really counts should be how we react, how we make the most of our time, and we do not become too reliant on the forecasts. We should be able ourselves to stir a revolution when it is the time to do so, but likewise to relax when Nature determines that it is the moment to do so. And this philosophy also means to enjoy the snowflakes falling, even if we know they may cause problems for the deers in the woods, may cause damage to the lift systems on the Marmolada, and may create great transport disruption. Are we so sure that we would live worse if we did not follow the weather forecasts on TV? Perhaps we might learn how to appreciate to the most every ray of sunshine, every flight of the crows as they circle high up, they informing us of the arrival of a high pressure belt. Why don’t we think to turn off the TV and reread the words of Aldo Leopold, he also saying: "The chance to see geese is far more important than watching television, and the chance to venture and  search and come across an anemone is an inalienable right just as important as the right of free expression". We need to enjoy Nature knowingly, to appreciate its beauty and its dramatic impact, to witness and be moved by the tree outside the office which shows the first signs of  blossom, especially when just round the corner in the main hotel courtyard area there is still 3 foot or more of snow! The indication is clear: spring is on its way. When will it come? Let it surprise us. All we need to do is to await it with curiosity and desire. It will be a magic moment when we awake to the sight of pretty flowers. I know they will come. You will see I am right ...even if every forecast says differently! 

Michil Costa

“The hypothesis according to which social sciences may develop to make possible the exact forecast and prediction of facts and happenings of all types leads to absurd consequences.”
K. R. Popper