The warm air of the Aegean is a blanket wrapped around you. Life moves slowly and without any cares. Days stretch long like a yawn and nights are still and quiet. Here, in Greece, the heat of the day weighs your bones and makes your limbs heavy, pulling rest and sleep in to you naturally and peacefully. The ocean withdraws and then pushes forward to the land again and again like deep and dense breaths.
You feel your heart lift as you gaze over the clear blue sky, the wide open ocean and the dry land. You feel your senses filled and your body at ease.
You arrive my boat, a long blue and white boat full of day trippers and island hoppers, and locals who’ve been shopping, their canvas bags bulging with silver plaited sandals that creak with their newness, nail polish in burgundy and deep green, and new kitchen pots that are smooth to touch and yet to feel oil swell on their surfaces. You travel across the sea with a gentle breeze in your hair and the sun on your head. You sail from the larger island of Rhodes that falls into the distance as you move over the water, its craggy harbour and the famous acropolis becoming memories or a dream. Rhodes that is dry hills and cool coves, historic streets that knights once walked and sandy buildings constructed in a different time. Busy Rhodes that dominates and stretches its hand back in time into its astonishing past and forward into its own glorious future. You cross the deep ocean water from the mother island, blue and green lifting with the surf, sea birds swooping and gliding on thermals.
The boat docks and the small Greek island of Symi greets you calmly and as if it has always known you. Symi rises and falls like it is breathing in the warm air, the land a mound in front of you as the mountain ascends to the sky. Pretty houses in yellow, pink, and white line the shore and the heavy sun touches the water and makes it dance. You feel your heart pulse and you know this place is a deep dream within you.
The mountain is dusty and dry and the goats wander, nibbling on shrubs and grass, and this is where the earth is cooler and the air is laden with dew. From where you stand now you can see the mountain reaching up toward the clear blue sky, its summit hazy in the sun.
You step forward again, and now you can see the small beach with the sea shining and moving beyond it, ripples of old waves reaching forward onto the sand and pebbles, and then withdrawing again, leaving the land to bask in the coolness of the water for a moment before the sun warms it once more.
Everyone is gone from the beach and this is now your land, your own space in time.
Samantha Priestley is the author of the Folded Word short-fiction chapbooks Dreamers (2014) and Orange Balloon (2016). She’s a novelist, playwright, and essayist who spins words into gold from her home in Sheffield, UK.
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