by Jess Mitchell
Unending blue stretched before me. Pricks of light sparkled on its surface. In the distance, patches of sunlight broke through the clouds and fell on the waves like a spotlight from heaven. I felt like I could reach out and touch them I wanted to be out on that water, out in the blue.
So this was the Mediterranean. She was the color everyone promised.
She was a woman. She lay before me, her arms open not in welcome, but in solitude. She had been floating here for a long time. She minded her own business. I was an observer to her home.
I had come to hike Cinque Terre’s trails and visit the Five Lands. But I was captivated with her, with the sea. With the being that we name in order to refer to whole countries and cultures. The Mediterranean. I stood on the cliff side, at the point where our domains met, and gazed at her.
I don’t know what I expected from her, but all I got was silence and an ache in my chest.
There were no flashing colors, no smell of food, no music, no houses, no people. There was only the Mediterranean, a sea that brushed against a cliff, alone and blue.
I couldn’t move from the trail. I had to watch her. The longer I looked out at the blue loneliness, at those empty spotlights of sun, the longer I listened to the waves that sighed from below with no one to talk to, the more I just saw a sea. Her loneliness infected me.
I forced myself to continue my hike, but I couldn’t free myself from that feeling. My soul seemed to have extended out of me and fused with hers, but I knew something was missing.
The Mediterranean is a sea, an ancient woman, but she is only water. It is us that help make her come alive, the people who exist around her. The ones who create art, families, life- that is also the Mediterranean. We ask her to join us, she takes our hands, and we fall in love. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. But regardless, I know it’s true. When we approach her in a solitary place like I did, we can catch her in her silent, blue loneliness, and we in turn search for life along her shores. Neither of us are complete without the other.
We, humanity, are in love with a sea. Perhaps the reason why I was drawn to her is because we are not so different from her. We are all seas that catch the light, drifting along and waiting for something. We are all a lonely blue.
Previously published in Blending, the semesterly magazine of Florence University of the Arts.
Read Jess’s Interview