Sunday, July 21, 2019

By the Sea - Cyprus, 2019

June 2019 - Catalkoy, Kyrenia, Cyprus:

It’s always morning when I swim out.

I start walking slowly, approaching the turquoise waters sparkling in the sun. The sea is always much calmer in the morning, stretching out to the horizon and bringing its salty algae smell to me with a soft breeze. I walk and walk, but the water is still just up to my knees. It feels like entering a shimmering, blue-green diamond. I walk for a while, then my feet leave the sea floor. The feeling is very much like flying: I have always felt so exhilarated by it that for a few seconds, I feel giddy like a child again. 

I take slow, comfortable laps towards the open sea. The sand below me turns into rocks, and shimmering fish dart to and fro. Every four or five strokes, I turn my face up to breathe. My nose and mouth fill with the salt of the Mediterranean sea. It is on my skin, in my hair, on my tongue, I am surrounded by it and filled with it. For a moment I just am, I exist in the midst of all this beauty, with the sea a living being, churning around me, under me, carrying me and my body to my destination. I feel propelled by my arms and legs in the salty water, and I feel no different than the fish that are swimming with me. It is a moment of oneness, of pure being. I am a fish, a pebble in the shore, a wave, the sky, the Mediterranean, all at the same time. 

I swim up to the buoys in the distance, my heart beating much faster in my chest, my goggles foggy with my efforts. I hold on to the rope, and rest my body on it for a few minutes. Below me the sea has gotten much deeper, and a darker shade of blue. Giving me a feeling of being so tiny that I could be swallowed by it any minute. It humbles me, and reminds me of my place in the universe, no more than a speck in this vast plains of blue. I turn my back to the horizon and turn and look at the shore. Behind the shore, the Kyrenia Mountains rise in the distance like sleeping giants. The two sides of the cove stretch out to the sea towards me, like a mother reaching out to her child. 

I float with the buoys there, lost in this dreamlike moment. My happiness is not complete or pure: I live the moment already with the nostalgia of knowing how much I will miss it once it’s gone. While in the moment, I am already looking at myself from the future, feeling the ephemeral, fleeting beauty of it. 

Salt in my eyes, nose and mouth, the mountains and the shore in front of me, the sea behind, under and around me, I float there for many minutes. I remember the words of a poet who, while looking at the same sea, the Mediterranean, wrote such verses of passion and beauty that when I think of them, I feel my heart soaring and crashing, like the waves themselves:    

“The waters call me,
The oceans call me,
The faraway calls me with a bodily voice,
And it’s every seafaring age there ever was, calling….

Ah, to depart! By whatever means and to whatever place!
To set out across the waves, across unkown perils, across the sea!
To go Far, to go Wide, toward Abstract Distance,
Indefinitely through deep and mysterious nights,
Carried like dust by the winds, by the gales!
To go, go, go once and for all!
All of my blood lusts for wings!
All of my body lurches forward!
I rush through my imagination in torrents!
I trample myself underfoot, I growl, I hurtle!
My yearnings burst into foam
And my flesh is a wave crashing into cliffs!

Fernando Pessoa, “Maritime Ode”

No comments:

Post a Comment