This is the post winning the 2nd Prize at #momtripelba competition. The author is Albena Krasteva. You may know more about him looking at his blog Paper Plane Travel.
The sea level has the exquisite privilege to be the point of reference to which altitudes are measured.
Further, it is to mark a metaphorical beginning.
Though I have no recollection of the occasion, I am often told that when I first saw theBlack seaat the tender age of I-don’t-remember-but-I-must-have-been-young, I was looking perplexed, struggling to understand what seemed completely unnatural and foreign to the world I had known up to that point – the possibility of infinity. “It does not end. It has no end.” – I was repeating.
Today, as I have grown in size, and, as I tend to claim at job interviews, in knowledge, I know the sea is not infinite. Not in terms of geography, anyway.
As I have grown in size, and, as I tend to claim in the company of adults, in understanding of the world, one thing has not changed – the sea with its splendour, the beach as its earthly receiver, for me, still mark a beginning. A beginning to any altitude my life could achieve, a beginning of a perception of the infinite, and an escape into that perception.
Have you ever heard of July Morning? Do you remember the hippies? Do you dream?
In 1971, Uriah Heep came up with a song called July Morning. Forty years later, in a small country in the East of Europe, called Bulgaria, every year, on the first of July, people gather at the beaches of Black sea to wait for the sunrise.
June 30th, 2009 was my graduation day. High school graduation. Seems like ages ago now. It really wasn’t. I showed up in jeans, t-shirt, and a travel bag. I do not know what I should have felt, though I always assumed it wasn’t what I did feel – impatient. High school was over, graduation day did not mean much to me, I wanted it to be over faster. It was time for the new beginning. Only a few hours later, me, my bag, my diploma, and a good friend of mine, her bag, brother and diploma were on our way to the seaside. We were headed to July Morning.
There is something very rebellious in the idea of a hippie Holiday to a county, who was experiencing full-time communism when the original hippies were around. This is how the movement started, inBulgariain the 1980s.
There is something very liberating in the idea of the hippies to someone, like me, who hasn’t been around to experience it firsthand. And, at the age of 18, the idea of Alexander-Supertramp-kind-of-way-of-looking-at-the-world, the quest for some sort of ultimate freedom, was what made my heart race with excitement. It still does.
So on the day of our graduation, on the eve of July 1st, we were on an 8-hour-long train journey to the seaside. John Lawton from Uriah Heep was playing the song with the sunrise in Kamen Briag, but we couldn’t make it on time. So we settled forVarna. We were to arrive at 5ish in the morning, and as the train was approaching, but not quite there yet, the outside was getting lighter and lighter. Did we miss it? Is it happening now? Why haven’t we arrived yet? Will we miss the sunrise?? Will we miss July Morning?!
We stepped out of the train station, fearfully looking for a sun in the sky. It wasn’t there yet, good sign. We rushed to the beach. I still remember the feel of the sand, the smell of the sea. It didn’t feel like any other time. It was more. It took us a few minutes to find a place to settle among the large groups of enthusiasts. And then the sun rised. Perfect timing.
Someone started singing the song:
There I was on a July Morning…
Everyone else followed:
Looking for love.
With the strength of a new day dawning, and the beautiful sun…
I wish I could tell you what that feeling was. The calm, the peace. The liberating belief in the world. The pure joy. The overwhelming sense of relief. The impatient expectation of what was to follow. The end and the beginning. The hope. The dream of heights. The dream. I wish I could tell you how it felt.
With the day came the resolution
I’ll be looking for you.
We fell asleep, right there on the beach soon after. When we woke up a few hours later, the sun was high in the sky, the july morning people had left, their place was taken by tourists lying around in swimsuits, getting tanned. Life had gone back to its normal occurrences.
At the sound of the first bird singing I was leaving for home. With the storm and the night behind me and a road of my own.