An Ethereal SummerAn Ethereal Summer

An Ethereal Summer

Chiara Zonca takes us to her favorite swimming spot, documenting her connection with water with the help of an Ethereal diffusion filter.

Summer came and went by so quickly. It can often feel that way in this part of the world, an exceptionally short time when you are left feeling a sense of urgency: to go out, to explore, to experience the outdoors and, most of all, to be in the water.

I’ve always been into swimming, my parents jokingly referring to me as a “fish” when I was a child, always happier inside than outside the water and waiting for my skin to literally peel off my fingertips before getting out. Years later, my inner kiddo is still pinching herself that I ended up living on an island. The natural and instinctive connection with the ocean having a chance to strengthen every day.

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Water is simultaneously able to calm my spirit and energize my body. If I had a busy or stressful day, swimming is an extremely soothing practice, reducing my stress levels and boosting my mood. It’s no surprise that my evening swims became somewhat of a ritual.
This Summer, my first one living full time on the island, was all about discovery, seeking for the places where I could observe marine life such as anemones and sea stars, the spots where I could just quietly sit and enjoy the tide rolling in. My ultimate favorite location is a set of sandstone rock formations facing a deserted island a short walk from home.
“It’s not that I think university is unhelpful, but I think there are other possible ways to learn.”

Chiara Zonca

The geology of the area is incredibly complex and invites exploration.
When I am there, sitting on the sandstone, floating in the water or climbing rocks, barefoot and overall blissfully happy, I feel like a feral mermaid: spending hours spotting crabs and bull kelp while listening to bald eagles flying above.
The perfect time to visit is in the late afternoon, where I am always seen sitting on a rock or in the water, waiting for the golden sunset light to paint the intricate rock formations in gold and blue with subtle light strokes. In these moments, time becomes irrelevant, my brain stops spinning and I am able to just be in the moment.
Ultimately, being in the water became part of a daily practice of self-care, a simple and vibrant treat to look forward to at the end of each day.
As September eventually rolled in, bringing with it shorter evenings and cooler temperatures, I am planning to extend my ritual into the Fall and perhaps do like the locals do by plunging into the Ocean all year round. It feels a bit extreme but I am definitely up for the challenge.
…after all, a feral mermaid’s bond with the sea is forever.