An arduous trek down a thorny goat path on a searing hot day brings me to a pristine beach spotted from a boat a few days days prior. I make my way to the cyan sea with a dramatic sort of half-stumble, half-walk, not pausing even to set down my beach gear. I drop things as I lumber along — a towel here, empty water bottle and food there, a snorkel by the shore. Like a wanderer lost in the desert who has just caught a glimpse of oasis, I see only water: cerulean, halcyon bathing pool of Olympian gods—revive me. Revive me now.
As my feet hit the shore, I fling myself in with a graceless pancake flop: all of me, flat and spread out, all at once. Not another soul on the beach, so no need to worry about first impressions.
As all of me hits the water all at once, I feel a thousand excruciating stings over my body. Salt water enters microscopic (and not-so-microscopic) cuts and scrapes I picked up along the barbed trail. Cuts I’d barely noticed, much less acknowledged, but, as with many things in life, the remedy is worse than the wound. The pain, like countless shallow paper cuts on tender flesh, makes me inhale—sharply—but passes quickly. In a few seconds it’s over, and I never feel my wounds again.
The cure for anything is salt water — tears, sweat, or the sea.
Baroness von Blixen, how right you were.