The Cove (June 25, 2007)
(part 1 of 3)
The sun is lower when we get there.
We have ambled (in our car) along the chain of Lungomares from one beachtown to another, stopping for lunch along the way, and eventually we are up along the Monte Conero road with its stunning vistas. With each breathtaking view we become more intoxicated. Until eventually at each turn and giddy glimpse of the sea, we cheer,”The Adriatico!”
Right before we reach the entrance of park there is entire hillside of cultivated lavender. Rows and rows of big, pale purple pillows as wide as I am tall. The dry wind kicks up and we roll our windows down to take in the smell. We have left behind the sweet honeysuckle, jasmine and linden flowers for this equally intoxicating powdery scent. The wind changes direction and the sea blows in our other window. “The Adriatico,” we mutter.
We follow the signs down the narrow, winding pebble roads and eventually find parking. The tree cover is thick and we can not see the beach. We continue on foot. Then finally a cove. There are not more than a dozen people populating it. We find a place in the shade of a dune not three body lengths from the lapping water. As I spread my towel down, I think how impossible it will be to be comfortable on all these pebbles.
But I am wrong. The round, white chalky pebbles seem to find their own level under my back forming a perfect sun-warmed mattress. The surf crashes and pulls back with the sound of tumbling stones. I ly there. The radiant heat of today’s beating sun relaxes my back. Vertebrae pop into place. Ah.
There are two young families. One woman is very pregnant. Her tan belly is bared in a bikini. A college couple lounges closer to the dunes with a pile of books. And a man and his nine yr old son land the beach on a dingy. To one side of the cove there is a watch tower, stone and ancient. To the other, tall cliffs of the same white, chalky marble that has produced my rock-tumbler mattress. And at my feet, the Adriatico.
It is time, Kate decides. She strides directly into the water. I come to the edge with my camera and snap a few pictures. My feet are being slammed by the assertive in-out of the surf. It is more than I can stand. I toss my camera back on my towel and return to the water’s edge. Kate has been giving me a full report about what her feet are finding. Now it is my turn.
Yesterday and this morning the beach had been fine sand. Manicured and lined with endless umbrellas and lounge chairs. Nothing bigger than a grain of salt has survived the constant grooming. No shells, rocks, driftwood, or sea glass and it stays that way out into the shallow water for yards and yards. But here, below the surface, the insistent surf has created a steep drop off of pebbles each no larger than half my palm. Then beyond, my uncertain feet find progressively larger smooth rocks then smooth boulders. They are occasionally slimy. The water is blue green and milky from the suspended marble dust. It is just slightly cooler than my own temperature. After a few minutes, I drop my head below the surface. When I emerge, Kate is there “The Adriatico!”
The undulating water laps my chin and lifts my feet off the slippery rock bottom occasionally. I look back at the shore to my bright orange towel, the dune beyond covered in brush, receding to the scrappy treeline, and then the mountains and the cloudless sky. To my left nestled above the beach against the trees, a modest, medium blue beach shack. The kind you might get a bag of crisps and a beer from. But it is Il Clandestino…