ADRIATIC

 The esplanade and palm trees by the sea in Split, Croatia.

POLARITIES

part one:

the coast of Croatia
is a map of snake's bellies
undulating,
dancing waves upon a rocky shore.
the sea lies close to
and kisses and caresses the shore.
valleys once home to birds
are now filled with salt water; 
mountains turned to islands
swimming in a Ria.
and even the round of the Adriatic ocean
seems like it is tempted onto the land
in a shallow sandy bay
of the European continent.
the melding of these two,
their ebb and flow,
land to ocean, ocean to land,
helps me to contemplate the polarities of life.
water is soft: yin
land is hard: yang
water penetrates: yang
land gives way: yin.

THE TEMPEST

This thing of darkness I
Acknowledge mine.
— THE TEMPEST - WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


TEMPEST

noun | ˈtempəst


1. Latin: tempus = time, season.
2. Middle English: tempest = violent storm.

It had been beautiful and sunny for days. In the hilltop villages of Croatia. In the first week, we had visited a goat farm, and had eaten cheese on the hood of our car while watching the larks fly over endless olive groves. We wandered lonely streets, alongside stray dogs, and then made our way to the coast where the water glittered at midday, and the fish markets were bustling.

We were told, more than once I will admit, to watch out for the coming weather. They said there was a storm brewing - that things would get much colder, and that sleeping in our car would not be advisable.

The locals were warning us of a seasonal phenomenon. Called the Bura, it is an immense wind, borne of the shifting airs from the Dinaric coastal mountain range. The Bura rages through towns, ripping trees from their roots. It has toppled building façades as if they were tiered wedding cakes. It has gained an infamous reputation.

The change in airs was swift. One day we were lazing by the waterside, watching fish dart beneath a silken veil that rippled in the sunlight. The next day, the ocean was tense, dark and brooding. Sea spray burst from the air into my eyes, and nose, and mouth. The wind was fierce and unrelenting, but worse was the cold: a gnawing, biting cold that pricked sharp teeth into my bones. At night the wind would howl around the car, and shriek in a pandemonium of sticks and branches that fell or were hurled any-which-way. It reminded me of the time my parent's bedroom window was sucked clean out of its frame, on a similar night.

The Bura lasted for over a week. It was like a set of hands, pushing us ever onward, along the coast. We tried trekking inland, and almost found ourselves locked in a box of blizzards, but neatly escaped back to the coast, where the rains had begun to pour down, blurring all outlines to grey smudges.


THE SEASONS OF MY SOUL

I don't often talk about my life to strangers. I am a private person, for the most part - revealing only those parts of myself I choose to. Which is ok, possibly even the right thing to do, given the gravity of words and messages, (which are like spells cast out into the Universe, with so many resounding and rippling effects). I like my privacy, I like to choose my words carefully.

And yet... I feel there is something beautiful about revealing my beating, bare-naked heart, every so often. Perhaps it will remind my reader that, yes, I am human too. Or perhaps it will remind them that life is complex, and in it's complexity there is an element of beauty. Nothing is perfect, but in being imperfect, it is perfect for us imperfectly perfect beings... If you see what I mean.

Here I am, ready to bare my heart to you, for a moment. When I look at these photos of Croatia, a feeling of anguish and unease floats across my mind. Certainly, it was not an easy time, what with the weather, and the fact we were spending much of that stormy time in our tiny car.

But, more than that, I am reminded of the seasons of my soul... That ebb and flow within me, that sometimes brings me down to gather pearls in the dark depths of my being. If I was to put my feelings at that time into a word, it would be:

loneliness.

I was not alone - having Oliver by my side, every step of the way, is one of my greatest blessings in this life. Also, we made a few friends in the villages we visited. But there it was, this overwhelming feeling of loneliness bordering on despair. I remember sitting by the ocean and just weeping. Not knowing why. (For, sometimes there is no material, reasonable-reason to my sadnesses.)

...

Heart-ache, 
breaking ribs, 

sobbing till there are no tears.
calm nihilism, 
straight-mouthed, 
clenched throat, 
rising angst, 
battered against the walls
of a boat in a storm. 

I know these feelings
like the freckles on the backs of my hands. 

Just like I know the

dancing joy, 
pure bliss, 
fizzing, 
crown-splitting, 
harmonizing, 
elation

that I feel
in the Summer days of my soul.

...

Winter had come to my being, and in so doing, I was tasked greatly, to retrieve myself anew from a dark room where I did not know which way was up, and which was down. 

But, oh, what wonder when I surface again into the world, and see its beauty once more as if I had new eyes; and here is a thought! - as it seems that my eyes really are new, when I come into that Springtime. Just as my body reforms its cells in cycles, and I become a wholly new being, so does my spirit renew itself through death and rebirth. The lessons I learn in these dark times help me to grow. Like the aching bones of a child. 

I am so thankful for all the seasons of my life, for both the difficult times and the easy ones. I would never have learned half as much, if I had not journeyed through all those harsh Winters. I hope that you, too, can say as much, and can find the beauty in the ebb-and-flow. It is not easy, and I know everyone's path is different, but here I wish to speak a jewel of truth - let it tumble from my lips, and lay in my palms, in an act of offering.


POLARITIES

part two:

We live in a world of polarities
we are made of star dust
and fire, and soft earth
and death, and breath
and yin and yang,
the one kissing the other close.
let them kiss, do not separate
what is meant to be embraced.

...

 

 Blue sea and sky by Rovinj peninsula - a town sticks out in the sea.
 Clear sea water with green algae covered rocks - in the Adriatic.
 A boat being built by the seas of Croatia.
 Green and brown sea glass.
 rubble and sea glass and stones.
 Tiny tree covered island off Croatia in the Adriatic sea.
 Cross by the sea.
 Cat sitting in the sun.
 Sunset over the coves by the adriatic sea.
 White washed houses by the Adriatic ocean.
 Guitar sits by an empty chair, the busker has gone for his lunch break.
 Palm trees and blue skies.
 Fishing boat docked by the shore.
 Boats and rubble in the bay, Rovinj.
 blessings - a cross sits by the sea.
 Calm seas at sunset.
 Boat tied to the pier on a hot day.
 Oliver walks out on a white rocky pier by the ocean in Croatia.
 Sunset by the rocky coast of Croatia
 The Adriatic sea with blue waters and white rocks on the Croatian coast.
 A fishing boat returns to the cove at sunset, Croatia.