I wake up at 5 a.m. It is easy. I know I’m going to the beach again today. I get out of bed and while spreading the curtains, I open the window. The house I am staying at is at the calm, pastel Curonian Lagoon, so I hear calm lagoon waves swinging on the shore. The birds woke up already and the seagulls are having breakfast, fighting with each other, sending their signals to the world. I grab my things and head to the beach. I have a yoga class every morning there. I walk out and immediately glance to the lagoon. The night has died and the fog is leaving the air, revealing the sparkling water, letting sunbeams to dive in it. I go to the glowing water and smell the clarity, the pure, the breeze. I am happy to feel this poetical glory of the early morning hour, when everything here belongs to the nature itself. I feel pity for those still dreaming in their white beds. Nevertheless, I am happy I can be a part of this feast and magic of the Creator.
In a while I leave the golden sunny shore and turn to the forest. I have to cross all Curonian Spit to get to the blue Baltic sea. Such a symbolic journey – from one water to another. Shore to shore. From east to west. From fresh to salty. Past to the future.
Entering the dark old forest, I do my best to dive into it fully and to observe grass, lichen, trees, spider webs, to listen to all the whispering or footsteps of unknown creatures. I try not to think nor to plan anything. I walk. Smell. Hear. Closing my eyes, I swim into my inner world of senses and emotions. I am here and now. I am the one with this forest. I am here in the middle of the Spit, between the two waters. I slowly climb the hill, feeling a little tired already and at the very top of it – it happens. The Sound of sea waves. This sound is always, always epic. The Great Moment. It reminds me the ticking of the Universe clock, Galaxy bells ringing, the sound of every beginning and ending, the cycle of life and death in one tiny moment…. I stand here on the hill knowing that I am the part of it. The one. I start to go down the hill with ease and excitement. The new day lies before me. New people, meetings, experiences. I dream to do something for the first time, something New today. I dream to live fully and consciously. I find myself smiling and feeling the moment. The past is gone and the future in on the corner. And this is me – already running down the hill like a child, turning my eyes to the sky, the sun, the pine branches and then… the Sea. This is it. I am here. I stand on the tall dune and observe the seascape. I go down the dune and let the soft sand to hug my feet. Slowly I reach the waves and touch them with my hand. I say “hello, dear” and feel the love of salty water. Now I will sit here and wait for others to come to yoga. I will look at never ending horizon and listen. The Clock of Universe, The Bells of Galaxy, Beginning and Ending will float around me for a while.
I take a ferry from Klaipėda to Curonian Spit and at that very moment – miracles start to happen. I feel like I am entering some other world, a parallel universe, a magic tale, a promised land… I arrive to the land of white soft sand, numerous never ending pines, an island of two waters: a blue Baltic sea, and a calm, pastel Curonian lagoon. Romantic, adventurous and in a way sentimental feeling immediately catches me, the feeling of nostalgia for the future memories… For the events that haven’t even happened yet.
Curonian spit belongs to Lithuania and Russia. Almost at the border of Russia, I reach my loveliest town – Nida. This little town welcomes everyone: young and old, peace-seeker and party maker, beach lover and nature enthusiast, photographer and businessman, hipster and student.
Regarding me, I come here every summer and every time I know that something very special will happen and I will come back not the same.
I wake up In an early morning and take a walk to the beach. My path, which, wanders through playful mountain pine forest flirting with meadows and bents, is almost 3 km long. I smell the moss and lichen, listen to the birds, observe the wind. At some point I stop, and standing in the forest, I decide whether it blows from the west or north, how strong it is. I listen to the waves and catch myself guessing how the sea will look like today. Will it be caring and still, loving or wild, white or green? Local people taught me to observe the nature. They never look at the weather forecasts. People check the position of the wind or, for instance, they believe that if the sun dawns into the sea, tomorrow will be a sunny day, but if it dawns to the cloud, prepare for the rain. In the morning they go outside barefoot to check the grass: if it’s wet, they promise you the sunny day, otherwise – you must expect some drops from the sky… This is the great way to get inspired and to live in harmony with nature, to understand it and appreciate it.
While contemplating all those things, I come to the beach. The air is so calm and meditative today. Carelessly, my feet dive into white fine sand. Today the incredibly white sea reflects the sky and beautifully contrasts with black silhouettes of seagulls. One thing is always the same: sea smells of the wind everyday. The wind smells of the salt. Or cucumbers, or even watermelons, mixed with thyme… This sea always salutes me, giving her greetings with the upcoming fizzy waves, licking my legs and shins….This sea always gives a promise. Promise to be here as long as time lasts. To be my friend, to keep all the secrets…
It is a matter of minutes, until I meet some stranger at the beach and start a friendly chat. Today it’s Anika, hitch-hiker from Germany. She came to volunteer to Lithuania, to work in some organic farm and to learn. She is dreaming of meeting a moose in the dunes. Yes, sometimes mooses come here to drink the salty water and they are not scared of people!
I say goodbye to Anika and head back to the forest. Climbing the hill I stare at the lighthouse on the other side … enormous golden dunes lie there. Underneath them, you would find sand-covered villages… It is a dreamy desert, granting an opportunity to forget one’s self. Sometimes, sitting here, I lose myself in the moment of Here and Now, which has no hours, minutes or seconds. One day I heard an old charismatic violinist playing on the dune and that lonely sweet tune awakened something so fragile in me.. the feeling of something terribly lost or hidden. Still I know for sure: I will find it.
On my way to the house, I watch the passersby: old fishermen, craftsmen or sailors… Often I listen to their chats or stare at their work. I feel like an undiscovered world is opening in front of me, just because I never sailed the seas or caught the fish… I have never lived at the sea and I don’t know what it is like. So every summer I just come here and try to absorb everything into me, listen to the stories, explore the unknown. I photograph the landscape, look for undiscovered spots, learn the history (by the way, what a joy to take the book from local library and find the fine sand pouring from in between the pages into my bed!).
Usually I stay at the Tamara’s flat. She came here as a little girl after the Second World War and lived all her life. Her husband and son were sailors and she lost them in the sea storms. She never talks about them, just stares at the horizon thoughtfully. Tamara invites me for a cup of tea with apple pie. We would chat and look at the black and white pictures of her childhood…
It is impossible to put the story of Nida into an ordinary text. Words are just so limited! I always feel like I want to play a song, to paint or at least to write a poem about this place. For it is just made for an art. It awakens creativity: it is perfect for a movie making or book writing, for inspirations and meditation. So if you come here, stay as long as possible.
When I come here, there is that strange feeling that all the time I haven’t been here – something important was happening and I have missed it. This is hard to endure!
However, tomorrow I have to leave Nida. I don’t like this gloomy, sad feeling. Writer Azar Nafisi said: “You get a strange feeling when you are about to leave the place…. like you not only miss the people you love, but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place <…>”. And this is true. I will miss that romantic nomad, looking for unknown paths, staring at the endless horizon, compassionate chatter, brave artist. The person, who is becoming happier, calmer, more appealing. The person with lots of images and visions to save into memory card of a lifetime.
Gladly, this person stays with me forever.