SWIM : BARBADOS with CHLOE ZOLA
design by rebecca johnson
  “I live in the high desert now, where the closest thing to beach is the midday mirage on the two-lane highway that runs along the borders of town. I can't explain exactly how we got here- I think of this often. When I miss the saltwater and the sand on such a visceral level that I can almost feel its grainy sting on my skin. It was many years of changes and moves through things like resort collections, early morning meditations, and bedrooms under construction, until I began to anticipate unpredictable. We learned to leave when novel became normal.
 
But the beach always made sense. My stepfather hailed from Barbados, and I first visited the island when his acclimation into my life was still raw, before I had lost any of my baby teeth, long before the beaches were being swallowed by the ocean.
 
The desert moon is both steady and profound but cannot compete with falling asleep to the lull of the waves on a porch just off the ocean and waking up to the same- sheets coated in a faint layer of salt. I go back to the memories of the water and the island often, our many stays through out my childhood act as inspiration as well as motivation in my journey.
 
Endless days on the beach, bobbing in the Caribbean Sea until my body memorized the rhythm of the wave. Days peppered with things like sunburn, chicken rotis, and Ting, letting the salt simultaneously bleach and harden the ends of my hair. And now, far from the shore, when any of my days collide with curry, or salt water or grapefruit flavored anything, I close my eyes and I am seven years old again- on the side of the speeding boat floating in between each wave or sitting in the fleeting spots of shade, pouring sand over my feet, laughter until the sun melts into the edge of the water’s horizon.
 
In this great future, you can’t forget your past. These lyrics made sense on this beach. These words fit on the horizon and in the sand, they fit also in the deep and undisturbed night sky of the desert and anywhere that I allow myself to remember the water.”
 
Stay: Woodlands, Speightstown
 
~Chloe Zola
 
Chloe Zola is a writer, artist, and designer.
 
August 2013