We were on assignment on the Italian island of Chioggia at the southern end of the Venetian Lagoon. It was early spring—cool, wet, lovely. We had the morning free, so we took a walk. At the end of a narrow lane, we peeked over a stone wall and saw a man working in his kitchen garden. He spied us and, with a wave of his hand, invited us into his world. All was quiet in the bare plot, with its faint pattern of rows covered with rotting leaves. Once in, the gardener beckoned us to follow him to the end of a path.