sunday scribblings: simple

Prompt #61: Simple*


I pull out my notebook to jot down some thoughts because I want to remember these moments forever–simple pleasures of being tickled by cool water trickling through my toes, digging my hands in the sand until they are covered in damp black and gold specks, brushing wisps of hair out of my face put there by the constant, lovely breeze.I write the date in Italian without thinking, and I smile.

I didn’t bring my journal or camera because a trip to the sea wasn’t in the original plan. I have to give final exams in an hour or so, but I decide to head to the beach instead of straight to school–no matter that I have no swimsuit or towel (although always sunscreen).

At least I’m wearing flip-flops and a little sand on my jean skirt isn’t going to hurt anyone.

Despite summer-like temperatures, I am nearly alone on the beach. Two bikini-clad blondes, already sufficiently abbronzate if you ask me, lounge nearby, laughing and joking, switching easily from French to French-accented Italian and back again. We exchange buon giornos, but nothing more. I wonder what brought them to southern Italy, but they seem content in their world, so I don’t ask.

I look up from my notebook and see the back of a shiny black head pop up from the water. Just as quickly, the head dips back under and flippers peek out where it had been. The Ionian Sea is so clear, he can surely see to the bottom without all that gear, but he seems happy, and that’s what’s important. I am reminded that an amateur diver discovered the famous Riace Bronze statues just south of here in the early 1970s, and I wonder whether similar treasures lie just below this guy’s mask.

There’s a teenage girl a little ways down, standing in the water, her short navy blue skirt grazing the surface. She’s whipping her head from side to side, struggling to keep her long, black, curly hair out of her way as she furiously types a text message on her phone. She’ll spend the entire hour I’m here on the phone in one way or another, but no one joins her. I wonder if anyone came after I left, and I hope that someday she’ll appreciate her own company if she doesn’t already.

A sailboat eases by, two men on board casually steering the craft between the scuba diver’s periodically surfacing head and a rather large fishing boat anchored in the sea. I can’t tell what they’re saying from here, but they’re smiling and laughing. The wind is perfect for sailing as far as I know, but admittedly, that isn’t very much. They go back and forth, back and forth, and I think that it’ll soon be time to call home and tell their wives/mothers to put on the pasta, as the time for pranzo is approaching. I wonder if they’ll take a contented nap after they eat.

I put down my notebook and return to the water I had waded in up to my knees when I first arrived–earlier today, yes, but as my feet sink into the wet sand, I realize, also five years ago. I am back in virtually the same spot in which I had first experienced the Ionian Sea, when I had vacationed here what seems like a lifetime ago, when I had no idea that I’d end up making a life here, when P and Luna didn’t even exist, at least to me.

I am taken back to the thoughts that were occupying my mind at that time–my twenty-five-year old mind that started to play with a silly thought of making a major life change, of stepping off the fast-track and pursuing the passions that had always been in my heart but that had been pushed aside for more practical considerations.

The water is calm, refreshing, and oh so clean–cleansing, one could say. I regret that I can’t go in deeper as I have to play professional in half an hour. I laugh to myself as I glance back at the sweater I brought along in case it got chilly. The sweater will stay tucked in my bag for another time, though, because today, the weather is perfect, the breeze is perfect, and this moment is perfect.

And I don’t want to ever forget it.


*I’m posting this early because I won’t be around tomorrow; First Holy Communion time round here, which means some family fun.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!


[tags]sunday scribblings, sea, beach, ionian sea, calabria, soverato[/tags]

43 Beans of Wisdom to “sunday scribblings: simple”
  1. Jay

    Lovely musings Sognatrice, I really felt like I was there with you. Fluid thoughts and gorgeous words, thanks for giving me a sneak preview into your Sunday world!


  2. somepinkflowers

    oh, oh, oh….
    such the perfect capturing
    of such the perfect moment!
    which reminds me of why i read your blog…

    you do so know how to
    Be In The Moment!

    i was rereading
    Peace Is Every Step
    by Thich Nhat Hanh this morning
    (i am not a buddist
    but i appreciate the concept
    of Mindfullness.)

    anyway, i had just
    underlined this:
    ‘we need to sustain ourselves
    by choosing our surroundings carefully
    and by nourishing our awareness
    in each moment.’

    that is you
    or what you seem to do.

    then your write about your feelings,
    thoughts, etc.
    which are In The Moment
    for others to experience…

    you share
    your abundance of happiness…
    or something πŸ™‚ < ---see ooops, so sorry for finding
    such deepness
    in your lovely day at the beach…

    PS-on a lighter note,
    i love the universalness
    of flip-flops, don’t you?

  3. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    Amazing post.

    So many of us forget to live in the moment. It something I struggle with but yet when I’m in Rome (a hectic, large city) I am able to.

    It is the simple things that bring meaning to our lives. Those quiet moments when you can really “see” everything.

  4. Lacithecat

    oh …

    What a lovely post. So vivid and smooth that I felt I was transported along with you. I had not realized how much I missed the ocean.

    Sigh …

  5. Fran

    I wish I was there, I wish I was there (clicking my heels together!)

    You do have a way with words! Thanks for bringing Italy to my world.

  6. Liza's Eyeview

    simple pleasure of life…and a joy forever. I love this post πŸ™‚

    Have a wonderful time with your family πŸ™‚

  7. Sharon

    Do you count…dream in Italian?

  8. sognatrice

    Jay, thank you; I’m happy to have you along πŸ™‚

    SPF, wow. What a wonderful comment, and full of such gorgeous compliments to boot. Thank you, thank you, and I’m elated that you found such deep meaning in a simple day at the beach πŸ™‚

    NYC, our surroundings are so important for our spirits–we just function better in some more than others. The trick is to find those positive places, so you’ve won half the battle!

    Laci, I never realize how much I miss the sea until I’m there either, and I’m not even a beachlover. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Fran, did it work? Are you dipping your toes in the Ionian? Can you feel the cool water tickling you? *sigh*

    Liza, thank you, and thank you for the weekend wishes. It will be nice to see some members of P’s family who don’t live here–it’ll be a mini-version of what August will be like, when they all descend on the south of Italy πŸ˜‰

  9. sognatrice

    Sharon, I have dreamed in Italian, but it’s not always; sometimes I’m even rattling off in dialect, which I *never* do in real life. Even funnier, though, is when I have P speaking English in my dreams since he doesn’t speak a word!

    I almost always count in Italian, but I *always* swear in Italian πŸ˜‰

  10. Clare

    I so enjoyed your beach musings! And I love Italy. It’s my favorite country. My post this past Thursday was a poem I wrote about a postage stamp that wants to go to Italy! I really like your wonderful observations of the people and details around you. Reading this, I feel as though I just took a mini vacation — thank you!! It is awesome that you upped and moved to Italy. And thank you for stopping by my blog!

  11. Matthew

    I love how you move from the observations around you at the beach to this profound realization of the journey you have made to reach this moment. It’s inspiring to read the words of someone who has taken the leap and landed right where they needed to be.

    Also thank you for commenting on my “Simple” entry.

  12. Poppy Fields

    Thanks for sharing that simple, beautiful moment. I was transported…

  13. Giulia

    Liar Liaryou weren’t 25 five years ago! :p
    Everyone was so deep with their comments, I thought I’d throw in a little humor with mine. πŸ˜‰

    I have to agree with them though…beautifully written!

    Have fun at the Comunione:)

  14. sognatrice

    Clare, thank you! I have to check out your postage stamp post–sounds fun!

    Matthew, thank you for your kind words. The most interesting part about all of it, I think, is that I was sitting on the beach handwriting this post all without knowing the SS prompt. When I saw that it was “simple,” what I had written was just perfect.

    Poppy, thank you–so long as you end up back in France for the sake of the kiddies πŸ˜‰

    Giulia, I *absolutely* was 25 years old five years ago! I’m 30 as I’m typing this, so in the summer of 2002 during my first visit here, I was 25. You can check my baby spoon from a few posts back if you don’t believe me on my birthdate πŸ˜‰

    The communion should be a typical, southern Italian blast; thanks for the good wishes πŸ™‚

  15. Tracy

    Beautiful post! Thanks for leaving a comment on my art blog!

  16. Crafty Green Poet

    This took me right back to Italy!

    I’m impressed you naturally count in Italian. I can’t count in any of my foreign languages and I know several people who are fluent in English who always count in their own language.

  17. Regina Clare Jane

    Sounds like a beautiful trip to the sea… things are simpler when it is just you and nature…

  18. Paolo

    Michelle, thanks.

    You made me feel like I was right there, and with May gray winds blowing through San Diego right now, I needed some Ionian breezes.

    Auguri 1Β° Comunione al piccolo… dovrΓ  essere carinissimo!

  19. Deb G

    This was absolutely beautiful. I’ve had similar experiences on my local beaches. There is something about being near the ocean/water that simplifies everything.

  20. Erin

    What an absolutely gorgeous post! I could feel and see everything you felt and saw. You have an wonderful way with words. It hit on that deep longing I have to be back there. One day…

  21. Karen

    That was beautiful.

  22. gautami tripathy

    You have great way with words. I likethe thoughts drifting from one to the other. Inner voice kind of thing.

    Reflective, thoughtful, observant.

    I will link your blog to mine. Hope you don’t mind.

  23. Rebecca

    I love your description of the teenage girl, standing alone in the water and talking on the phone….what a perfect picture of life today…..

  24. Bongga Mom

    Love the “stream of consciousness post”, your words are like the waves on the beach, so gentle and soothing lulling us all to serenity and happiness

  25. Giulia

    Ok, ok, you were 25 and a half though. Don’t forget those all very important half birthdays too. πŸ˜‰
    You and I share half birthdays during other’s birth month. Does that make sense? lol

  26. khambagirl

    For a few moments, I was transported to that beach, and I was WARM. Very well written!

  27. minutechaser

    Simply beautiful, sognatrice. For a moment, I was on the beach with you :).

  28. Frances

    Nothing like swearing in Italian!
    You’ve made me lonely for the beach.
    It’s Memorial Day weekend – dare I jump on a subway?
    Have a marveous weekend.
    Ciao Bella,

  29. tricia stirling

    oh, this is lovely. how great that you went to the beach instead of straight to class and were able to glean from that all this. love the teenaged girl. i hope she takes a moment to look around.

  30. sognatrice

    Tracy, the pleasure was all mine! Thanks for visiting πŸ™‚

    CGP, I think maybe because if I’m counting something, it’s usually to then provide someone an answer–in Italian–and so it just comes naturally to do the whole process in Italian? Don’t know, but on the flip side, if I know the number is going to be higher than twenty, I’ll count in English just b/c it’ll be quicker πŸ˜‰

    Regina, there is something about nature that simplifies things–especially when there’s no noise around either.

    Paolo, I’m happy to oblige. And the comunione went well–I’m stuffed to the gills as I’m typing this.

    Deb G, thank you. I hope you visit your beach more than I do mine; I need to make time to get there more often.

    Erin, thanks! I sometimes find that when I’m at the beach on such a relaxing day, I’m already longing for it, if that makes any sense.

    Karen, thanks πŸ™‚

    Gautami, thanks for your kind words, and of course I don’t mind your linking to me–thank you!

    Rebecca, yes, that girl really stuck in my mind as well. Granted there wasn’t all that much to focus on, but it was a strange thing to see in and of itself–I hardly ever see a young girl by herself here. Of course then when I do, she’s on the phone! Very much a statement of the times and probably of that age.

    Bongga mom, what a lovely compliment; thanks πŸ™‚

    Giulia, I’m following you on our alternating halves yes, but I really stopped celebrating the half-bdays around the time I could legally drink, or, many years ago πŸ˜‰

    Khambagirl, I assure you, it was quite warm that day even with the breeze; thanks for commenting!

    Minutechaser, thank you for commenting, and I’m glad we could share a moment πŸ™‚

    Frances, I’m wondering if you took that subway ride; hope you are having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

    Tricia, we never know what can come from the smallest decisions, can we? There is something about that girl….I wish I could’ve stayed longer to see if she eventually put down her phone or if anyone came to join her.

  31. JoAnn


    ( found your name/greeting on Rebecca’s blog)

    I just wish I could ‘catch your words in photography’, would you mind that?


  32. Patois

    A lovely way to spend a Sunday, reading a post like yours. I hope First Communion went well!

  33. DJPare

    Nice life’s simple pleasures moment!
    And I love the part about the teenager not yet knowing how to enjoy her own company.

  34. Gil

    Was school done for the year (semester) after Saturday’s exams? Great beach story! No water for me yet as ocean is only at 61 F.

  35. Nora

    Oh, wow! What a beautiful blog. Thanks for finding me. Baci x

  36. KC

    This is a beautiful post, sognatrice, you relate the scene with such eloquent simplicity (befitting the subject of course.)

  37. sognatrice

    JoAnn, what a lovely compliment–thanks for visiting πŸ™‚

    Patois, I’m glad you enjoyed it; the communion went swimmingly (I’m *still* full from yesterday’s meal right now at 11 the next morning!). I hope to do a post about it today or tomorrow.

    Djpare, thank you; that teenager has really become a star here πŸ˜‰

    Gil, I’m done formal teaching for the year, yes, although I still have to give two more sets of exams (not sure when yet because the school schedules them at the last minute), and I’ll also continue with private lessons–I may even be teaching some kiddies soon (ages 5-10 or so)! I hope it works out, because I love that age group πŸ™‚

    Nora, thank you, and thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  38. sognatrice

    KC, with a scene around me like that, the words truly came easily. I love when that happens, don’t you?

  39. Louise

    LOVED reading that, I could see the pictures in my mind as you described them….you have a gift!!
    You are a great writer!
    Thanks for sharing, that was a great little ‘trip’!

  40. Figs, Olives, Wine

    Sognatrice, what a lovely, lovely post. It sounds like heaven. I’ll be on the Tuscan coast doing research in a few weeks, and now I’m really getting excited! (Though I highly doubt it’ll be as tranquil as this!)
    All Best, Amanda

  41. tongue in cheek

    Simple pleasure in a wildly beautiful passionate place…it doesn’t get better than that.

    ….Happy first communion feast day !

  42. Tammy

    I could picture everything as if I were beside you. What a blessing!

  43. sognatrice

    Tongue in cheek, no it doesn’t get any better; thanks for visiting πŸ™‚

    Tammy, I’m very blessed, and I’m glad you enjoyed coming along πŸ™‚

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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