The tiny calanques from a few weeks ago when I stole off to the south with my friend Chloe…
On this stone beach, we are a blue sarong and a yellow striped towel. Boulders break our cove into a few chambers for bathers – a bit of shade, some privacy and the illusion of being alone here. The rocks themselves are giant ridged oyster shells… if an oyster grew around itself like a hermit crab rather than a bowled mollusk.
The pattern in the rock mirrors and atrophies itself up the cliffside surrounding our little spoon of beach facing out into the Mediterranean.
Cemented stairs lead down the crusty cliffs to the blue cove and are barnacled to the dirt in a series of switchbacks that look like a mosaic of gleaming broken ceramic. Bathers drop from step to step, careful and eager making their way from the dusty foot trail above to the white rocks burning into the blue sea.
From the perspective of the brown fish bathers below, the dry earth cliffs are filled with washes of succulents, chirping and flashing away as the sun hits mid morning. The dry river earth sprouts the most unlikely topiary of cacti and flowers, aloe tips hang over the lowest rocks like lost washed up fishing net. Dead plants are the gardens of live plants and vibrant yellows sprouts from a spiny tulip.
Further up the hill, where your eyes almost meet the sun, the life-sized bonzai trees, windblown and silhouetted against the cloudless sky.
A man creature glides past across the rocks, making little sound. His baked red clay body and flat wheat hair seem to be cut from this very calanque. He has odd angles, and colors that outside of this cove, might just cease to exist.. or maybe he’d look just like a normal person.
He is light-footed to the waters edge, waist deep in a matter of moments and then gone with hardly a splash. He glides under the water out of the cove in the longest single breath I can remember seeing. He is a fish, torpedo-ing away into the clear blue, followed by a fit of bubbles.