“Where are you going?” Maria sleepily asked at dawn. I replied I was going to the beach for my morning swim, and I’ll be back in an hour or two. “Hold on,” she said. “I’ll go with you.” I smiled with delight.
I took her to the base of Punta Imperatore, and we sat on the sand of Spiaggia di Citara. This beautiful place is resonant with history. The ancient Romans named it in honor of Venus of Cythera, whose origin is the present Greek island of Kithira, where Aphrodite was worshiped. The Greek word aphros means foam, and the story is that Aphrodite was conceived and born from the white froth produced by the severed genitals of Uranus, after his son Cronus threw them into the sea. Ouch!
“You’re funny,” Maria said.
“Let’s swim,” I replied.
“No, you go ahead. I’ll join you in a few minutes.”
I glanced back as I entered the pleasantly cool sea. Maria had the camera up. I waved, then turned and dived in.
Soon we embraced, chest deep in the clear surging water. Every now and again we were gently lifted by a swell, and brought gently back down. Surrounding us were black volcanic rocks, and all around the gentle pastel shades of violet and aquamarine, and hints of pale rose. From behind Mt. Epomeo the early morning sun lighted the greenery at the top of Punta Imperatore. We inhaled the scents of honeysuckle and jasmine. Of saltsea and fish and wet driftwood.