We all dream about it in the summertime, wishing to feel it as long as we can. But, how does it feels to be at the seaside during the winter, when a stormy wind rises and open sea becomes black and wild
Words: Guca s Otoka sreće
Emerald Sea, a hot sun on the skin, a tropical aroma of sun lotion, a blue sky and a hot, shimmering air. Or in this way, an opiate smell of conifers, a coffee-chair in the café right by the sea, a cold aperol spritz, a nice company, and DJ likes salsa just like you do. Even better, a little boat sails, you’re on the other beach in a minute or just some sailing and meditating. You imagine that magnificent pose from the Titanic, Kate and Leo on the prow. And a flamboyant sunset, perhaps a solar yoga, a hidden, small fish restaurant, a warm night breeze, new sandals … these images are a probable association with the word Sea. I believe that many beautiful pictures are lining up now in front of the eyes, particularly to us who grew up on the beaches of the Adriatic, Greece, Turkey, or Spain.
However, a couple of summer months are not that “real sea”, I mean not ours, Mediterranean Sea. A couple of days in the winter months on a seaside will make these romantic associations faded. Life on the sea, over the whole year, is a view from a completely different perspective. I found it out in one anno domini, when our small family pulled up an anchor and left the native land in a search of new challenges. The goal was to settle down in a tiny island village and move on. Although in mature years, we have made the decision easily. It came after one intensive part of our lives and it seemed so therapeutically to us. I think that decision has long been prepared in our subconscience, like those background applications, because we woke up that morning and all of a sudden everything seemed crystal clear. When we thought we’d decided, in fact we’d already left.
The sky darkens, becomes dark blue, black, a stormy wind rises up and the sea goes wild
Winter on my island has many faces. Sometimes, December is wonderful with sunny days and temperature around 20 C. When a wind suddenly strengthens locals say it’s burin but when it gets stronger, day by day, that’s already bura. There is also a mighty and stormy bura, the worst of all winds which can last for a weeks. It causes trees being pulled out and downed, traffic for trucks and busses to be banned and ferries to be blocked in their ports. At that moment you realize how much humans really depend on the mercy of nature. In March, the three “Martian bura” are awaited cause only when they blew through your each and every bone the winter is over. The wind often changes its direction, so when it becomes much colder locals say that’s tramontana wind. Sometimes boats in the port turn their bows towards south side and the air becomes humid and sticky. The sky darkens, becomes dark blue, black, a stormy wind rises up and the sea goes wild. Those conditions are called “južina” (informal) by the locals and nobody can cope well with it. Even we get grumpy in those days, we’re nervous and we sleep badly. You are a lucky one if the rain falls, even though it lasts for days, because rain brings a real relief.
And then, the sound of a snow shovel had awaken me one morning. The snow was almost 20 cm high and was still falling. We run out of the house like some kids. All fellow locals were already out and we all made photos of everything. The scenes were surreal; the glittering whiteness in front of the eyes, the alleys covered with the beautiful, uncleaned snow, white and fluffy boats, palm trees covered with the snow, our beach under the snow, the prints of three-toed seagulls are everywhere and the sea turns grey.
I often get out even when I don’t want to, imagining that this way I’m strengthening the power of my will. And one more thing to add, sea doesn’t smell as the sea in the winter
I become conscious that I started to regularly monitor metrological and road conditions and webcams as well. This helps us organizing the life in a smarter way. Winter is very quite here, the place seems deserted, I’m seeing only some persistent walkers or people with dogs. Majority of the closed cafes and restaurants wait for the summer. Locals are coming in those still open, most of them are faithful to one café. We are switching “colors” and after a good stroll we enjoy our macchiato at the café with the most of the sun. Jogging were never an option to us. Still, continual winter walk along the sea, sometimes in the rain, storm or bura wind, strengthened me somehow. The air is sharp, clean, my lungs are relieved of the Belgrade smog and our sense of smell has become perfect. I often get out even when I don’t want to, imagining that this way I’m strengthening the power of my will. And one more thing to add, sea doesn’t smell as the sea in the winter. My friend Olja was here in some November, we spent a few days walking around the coast in a search for that smell. We found it one night, somewhere in Istria, I suppose that the wind had thrown the sea grass on the rock.
Winter doesn’t go away sometimes, it nails you into the house longer then tolerable and this is the moment when depressing thoughts move into an attack
Luckily, the internet is working well on this island, each and every possible device that can be connected to Wi-Fi is connected, TV, laptops, tablets, smart phones. That’s how I maintain my friendships and share my thoughts until my “live” appearance. We also met some new people with whom we socialize in variety of ways, but I enjoy the most when they visit us. Then I transform myself into a passionate chef, preparing some dishes that are unusual to them. Some of them are well known for them but they don’t have it (e.g. its majesty “kajmak”). Winter doesn’t go away sometimes, it nails you into the house longer then tolerable and this is the moment when depressing thoughts move into an attack. We’re defending ourselves by making shopping jumps over the borders or by planning springtime recovery in some Italian wine region. Usually, we get dressed quickly, I would dig up my high heels, put the powder on my nose, and then we move to the mainland into urban life. I’m realizing that these little pleasures mean more then they did in our previous life and that ideal balance between the rural peace and urban way of life is possible to find.
If you are thinking about some skiing these days, you can somehow get to the seaside when nobody else goes. It doesn’t have to be a luxury resort or a fancy place, you can choose some small fisherman’s village instead. Somewhere, where, close to the sea and bura while listening the symphony of your own thoughts you become cristally and clearly aware of the power and purity of the nature. I did.