The lightness of being (on a Genova beach)

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Pen, be my heart: for these two wave-thundering fingers of golden-blue before that sun hits these rocks–in Genova, friend and lover, a city where nothing is not wild. Genova, where all ties and times and turns itself to the sea, and thus to the moon, that pulling, reflecting body…

I am here on the spiaggia libera once again, resting on a bay of blessed pietrine, lines of white running over fields of ardesia-gray, and I am thinking about light: how in my language “light” means more than one thing, has a weight to it that doesn’t carry through in Italian. Here light means luminescence, and nothing else, not how heavy or not heavy a person is, a tendency that across a woman’s life often matters more than it should. Where I’m from light means absence, core, revelation…

I didn’t want to photograph anything today for the same reasons I fear writing it down: in documenting, I am afraid I won’t be able to see.

Now the wind is working with the sun, telling me for (un)certain when it’s time to go home, this other home, where I have left the baby with nonna (I am still not good at doing this), and under and around all of this, still writing, I think, I would have photographed the following:

monk parakeets–flocks of green cawing madly at the idea of avian non-nativity; flowering brush, dormant, with pods that fray like milkweed; white-haired Genovese in mustard pants with wool caps or full-fur jackets; green-painted iron railings on houses, palazzi, painted only in colors that reflect, and do not attempt to change or capture, the light of the setting sun.

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Here there is so much love for what is, what has almost always been, for all that soul in every timeless thing.

I am led (as I was told I would be) to a particular rock, a jagged heart I will pack in tissue, smuggle home past customs and send to a friend’s mother who has recently known loss. I will keep some of these rocks for myself as well.

It is hard to live even briefly on rhythms not your own, and yet, to sublimate one’s “own-ness,” even briefly, has its benefits. Metamorphosis, deposition, erosion. In and out, the pull of the sea, carving and carrying us home and away, away from home toward home.

2 thoughts on “The lightness of being (on a Genova beach)

  1. Neysa

    I’ve never been, but this sounds lovely, both literally and figuratively. I love the sucking sound of the sea, pulling the listener, the observer, home.

    Like

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