The Mediterranean- I have just stepped into her waters for the first time. I think of corsairs and kings, the ships mouldering in her deeps and the empires built on her shoulders. A stiff westerly wind hauls the waves today, bearing grains of sand with whispered names: Gibraltar, Carthage, Morocco. From the East, an imagined echo: Byzantium, Istanbul, Troy, gone, gone gone…
It’s shoulders are now freckled, this particular afternoon in Southern Spain, with fit, fair people of many nationalities. There are bare-breasted Spanish and German women, and my awkward American teenagers, wiry men in speedos. Atop the sedimentary layers left by fervent tradesmen and conquerors (the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Moors), dwell a calm, minimalist population who don’t fuss much, and today I feel the same.
The west wind seizes an old man’s floating lounger and he bursts into a wild front stroke that defies his balding paunchiness. The Med here is cold, the soldier and the Saracen who have washed, splashed, dreamed and drowned in her salty waters never mentioned that. But she’s big water. Not all of her can be warm as a Roman bath.
I’ve got to sign off to entertain the jet-lagged, culture-shocked and, now, windblown teenagers. I can be such an introvert when traveling, I just want to take it all in, silently, alone with this page and the sea.