I was not born a real water lover, mostly due to the fact that I can’t float and I get cold immediately. When my first daughter was going through infant water training I used to wear a thermal shirt in the pool, despite the fact that the pool temperature was about 85 degrees. If I forgot to bring it, I would come out of the pool looking sickly white and blue in the lips. My daughter fared better.
Maybe it’s the setting, maybe it’s the dream of living on the Mediterranean come true, maybe it’s the wisdom that comes with experience, but whatever it is, the water here in Levanto invigorates me. I love nothing more than diving in and feeling the coolness envelop me. Put your head underwater and hear the millions of pebbles gently rubbing against each other as the waves pass over them. Open your mouth and the saltiness attacks your tongue.
And it’s the salt that gives me the greatest pleasure. My family comes from the Great Lakes, and while Lake Michigan remains one of my favorite places, the water is terribly insipid compared to the sea. Saltwater has body to it, it cleanses, it refreshes, it stings, it makes you feel more alive. The sun dries it to your skin and it crinkles when you put your shirt on. Salt often gets a bad name from all those nutritionists and dietologists and medical experts around us, but it is also an essential part of life. Without it, there would be none of us.
Long live the Mediterranean. Long live the oceans and the creatures in them. And long live that sensation we get when the intoxicating whiff of sea air hits us as we approach salt water after a long time away, and with our noses in the air we say, to no one in particular, “Ahh, the sea.”