Croatia Postcard

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Pinball bounding bouncing rock to rock, to and from the edge of your vision you can see see where the stone fences have collapsed returning haphazard to earth. Fences that evoke centuries of sheepherding, mind wanders to olive trees, apricots, cherries. The deep green around us, snapping twigs and leaf shush, arms raked by thorns. Heat concentrated into a clearing, we dive past the perimeter again.

Krk island, third day in Croatia, arrived by ferry last night in moonshafts to pitch tents by headlamp sparking against spider webs and mist. A train ride, two sea passages behind us, pedaling steep loamy forest pitches of Istria once we crossed the barbed fence border with Slovenia, concussive contrasts on Cres between white stone hike-a-bikes and then Euclidean tarmac along a ridge with views into space and imagination. The transitions here aren’t gradual or covert. There’s a moment watching yachts shift lift at the docks and then your own arched back the only shadow for relieving your thirst as you scan for a well or even just a livestock tank to fill up the bottles high in the dry hills.

The Adriatic is present like gravitation, unseen and then so constant that it’s the ground against which other things subsist. And the riding is unexpectedly technical, surfaces for hooves so we jackhammer through, look up to the shimmering, look down to the demented cobbling. Sometimes a village that we think is abandoned until a figure, a ghost evading light, an octogenarian crosses a doorway. Every hour here except for sunrise and sunset seems like midday.

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Yes, we see holidaying merriment on the pebble beaches and cafes, and there’s a sense in thinking that that’s the wall text for these islands. But on the lattice gravel tracks here, blocks of still air have chiseled on them a history of the mediterranean.

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