14.06.2015 - 18.06.2015 75 °F
I awoke this morning in Cadeques thinking about my childhood. I don't know why exactly. Perhaps it was the sliver of morning light that stole into our 2nd story hotel room that reminded me that something beautiful and hidden awaited outside? As I drew the curtains, a typical Cadeques Spring morning revealed itself to me. Suddenly, I was recalling some feelings I had as a child. Feelings like the wonder of nature and the giddy mysteries that exist outside filled with fortunes awaiting to be discovered under some rocks or near a tree. My childhood imaginations created amazing adventures whenever the sky was clear, the sun was warm and the air was fresh with the smell of poetry.
I ventured out into the early morning alone, slowly creeping along the craggy, undulating 'lanes'(they are too narrow to truly be called 'streets'). I surfed the wave-like paths and touched every plant along the way as if I were a plastic bag pushed along in every direction by a quietly courageous wind. The more I explored, the more I sunk deeper into the notion of what childhood was like.
I returned back to the room and scooped up my wife for an early morning breakfast over-looking the boat filled harbor. As we ate, my eyes stared at the shoreline that disappeared then reappeared the farther I looked into the beyond. We decide to take an impromptu hike along the left shore banks to discover what this lovely town had to offer. After about an hour, I realized that this was quite possibly the most beautiful walk/hike I had ever done. In addition, I realized something new about why I was traveling so much this year.
Thinking back as a young child, I remembered how much I enjoyed playing 'Hide and Seek' with myself. I think I was usually trying to hide from anyone, people mostly, and I was also seeking something at the same time. I always felt there was some kind of treasure lurking just around the corner but in actuality it was the golden illumination of mystery that exists in your mind when your a child first experiencing the outside world on your own.
They say the first, powerful experiences you have as a child shape your entire life. History says Salvador Dali used to visit Cadeques frequently as a child. When you spend time walking along the Costa Brava shoreline, you begin to feel like you are on some strange, beautiful planet where bizarre forms and shapes jut out towards you from every direction. It's a planet where straight lines barely exist and where every path, lane, street and house seems to bend in weird ways like an expressionist painting. The clear Mediterranean waters are inviting but somewhat scary as patches of darkness are scattered underwater like big shadow-monsters. Even human built structures seem to have their own personalities and faces. The pockmarked sea rocks peer back at you, at certain points, like haunted skull/faces!
Because the winter weather here is a harsh cabal of howling winds, all the trees and shrubs contort outwardly in a shocking manner
as if performing a Moe Howard impersonation.
It was fascinating for me to imagine a young Salvador Dali hiking these very same trails and seeing the very same things. As an adult, my imagination was taking off with every step and I wondered what this would have looked like to me as a child.
Which brings me back to one of the reasons I am traveling this much. I've come to realize that I am trying to capture those aspects of childhood that were so meaningful then. Travel is my attempt to recapture the wonder, mystery and discovery in exploring the world for the first time.
One loses all that as you get older and come to see the world in that harsh light of reality that eventually destroys all your childhood illusions.
I always felt more comfortable on my own, away from the crowd, discovering some new hidden beauty around a new corner or a the water's edge. I now understand that that is my initial understanding of the world and one of the important ways I stay sane amid the insanity of human reality.
Dali returned to Cadeques as an adult and bought a few homes here. No doubt it was an escape back to the comfort of his childhood where he felt kinship with the strange, weird landscape that exists here. Moreover, I can even see how Gaudi and other Spanish artists felt comfortable working with the chaotic forms and shapes of the windswept Spanish Costa Brava.
Recreating your childhood, is that what it all comes down to?
For what reason am I trying to recreate my childhood? Fear of getting older? Fear of anxiety? Fear of losing my imagination? Fear of not living enough or fear of living too much?
Fear of death?
Fear of living too long?
Fear of death?
I've said that. *
- Props to Raymond Carver for that last part.