~~From time to time, I post photographs from friends who are traveling to the world’s remote corners and bringing or sending back photographs. Today’s wayward photos and words are those of my daughter, Tamar, taken during our trip to Croatia and the ensuing romance with the Adriatic. ~~
Picture it: Dubrovnik, Croatia, June 19, 2017. Away from the tourists, past a boardwalk and Hotel More and the little shops selling beach clothes and water shoes. The walkway is on a cliff, the Adriatic Sea directly below a ragged stretch of rocks and boulders where people sunbathe before jumping directly into the sea. We’re looking for a spot from where maybe, if I’m brave, I’ll climb down into the water. I find a rickety ladder attached to the rocks. My mother rests in the shade on the walkway.
It can’t be too difficult, I think. I slowly make my way down the rocks, past an elderly couple enjoying the sun and three single ladies laughing and spraying themselves with oil. The ladder is sturdy, but takes maneuvering. It’s only four rungs, a little too tall for my body, but I reach the last rung and the cold water snapping at my toes. It isn’t a beach, more a man-made cliff, and because of this, the water hits the rocks like a boxer’s punch seen in slow motion. A wave of panic hits me as I lower myself into the water. I’m further away from the sunbathers than I realize, and when I look up, I can’t see anyone which means they can’t see me.
I could easily slip into this water, close my eyes, and be carried away. I sling my arm through the last rung of the ladder and with one quick move, submerge my body under the freezing water. It is exhilarating and terrifying all at once. In that moment, I welcome my own baptism, still holding on, not afraid of the water, but aware of the ferocity I want to give myself to. I dip under the water repeatedly, taking in that ferocity, holding it, and letting it settle somewhere deep within.
It’s simple, and doesn’t take long, and when I’m done, I’m done. I climb back up to the rocks, then to my mother. My explanation of the event – like the words written here – does it no justice, but it’s a moment I will never forget. A kind of rebirth, not one where I am suddenly free of my scars, or fears, or broken pieces. But I’m aware of them, and in solidarity with all I have experienced, and loved, and lost, the depth of the clear, crisp water revealing the depth of so much more. I will return again.~~