(N.B. I have written about this topic before, and you can find those posts here and here. This Plinky answer is describing the same place, and much of the language is also the same. I’ve decided to post it anyway, because it may be my best one-page descriptive writing.)
The Plinky prompt for May 19th was:
We each have many types of love relationships — parents, children, spouses, friends. And they’re not always with people; you may love an animal, or a place. Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of “love”?
(I just realized as I copied the prompt that I really didn’t answer the question. Oh, well.)
May 19, 2013 by jatwood234
I Know Where Love Is
Most of my life, I ran around pursuing love in a frenzied state, never believing that I would catch it. I jumped from one relationship to another, usually believing that sex would lead to true love. A big mistake, I must confess, but one that required decades of failure to overcome. During all that time, though, one love remained in my mind and heart, as strong and real as the rest was false. My love is for a spot in western Turkey called Ҫeşme Beach, which borders the Aegean Sea. I lived near there as a child, and some of my fondest memories were made there.
We pitched our tent in a small campground with a tiny cafe, a private, even smaller beach-front, and a great big fig tree. We were my mom and her best friend, the seven of us kids and her four. The beach was primarily undeveloped, and felt completely safe — the moms let us snorkel and swim and play in the sand without much supervision. This place fulfilled our childhood dreams of a perfect vacation spot during the day, with the teal and blue Aegean open for us to explore, filled with anemones and coral and octopi and colorful fish. Then, at night, we would gather at the cafe, and the young men who ran the place got out guitars and amps and a drum-set, and played rock-n-roll, to which we danced until bedtime. One of our biggest thrills was to provide lyrics to American popular songs for the band; I know it made me feel like an important part of the place.
I know we wore our moms out, because every day around two, they would send the eleven of us to the fig tree to nap or play quietly while they found adult company and conversation in the cafe. I loved to sit in the fig tree, eating the fruit if it was ripe, or reading a book or just daydreaming. The music drifted on the warm wind from the cafe, and some of those songs still transport me right to my branch in the dark green of the thick leaves.
I used to feel wistful, but now I am grateful: those were the best two years of my life, and I remember every moment as if I were still there. The soft sand, the teal and aqua water, the white cafe building, and that big fig tree, green and brown and shady and cool. My heart is full of this place, even after forty-some years, and when I think of Ҫeşme Beach, I know the truest feeling of love I have ever known.