Travel Theme: Rhythm

By Vladimir Brezina

Over on Where’s my backpack?, Ailsa has posted this week’s theme for her Travel Photo Challenge: Rhythm.

Rather than music, for me just now this brings to mind such things as the rhythm of waves at dawn…

… and the rhythmic progression of dawn itself, and of words used to describe it

The sun had not yet risen. The sea was indistinguishable from the sky, except that the sea was slightly creased as if a cloth had wrinkles in it. Gradually as the sky whitened a dark line lay on the horizon dividing the sea from the sky and the grey cloth became barred with thick strokes moving, one after another, beneath the surface, following each other, pursuing each other, perpetually.

As they neared the shore each bar rose, heaped itself, broke and swept a thin veil of white water across the sand. The wave paused, and then drew out again, sighing like a sleeper whose breath comes and goes unconsciously. Gradually the dark bar on the horizon became clear as if the sediment in an old wine-bottle had sunk and left the glass green. Behind it, too, the sky cleared as if the white sediment there had sunk, or as if the arm of a woman couched beneath the horizon had raised a lamp and flat bars of white, green and yellow spread across the sky like the blades of a fan. Then she raised her lamp higher and the air seemed to become fibrous and to tear away from the green surface flickering and flaming in red and yellow fibres like the smoky fire that roars from a bonfire. Gradually the fibres of the burning bonfire were fused into one haze, one incandescence which lifted the weight of the woollen grey sky on top of it and turned it to a million atoms of soft blue. The surface of the sea slowly became transparent and lay rippling and sparkling until the dark stripes were almost rubbed out. Slowly the arm that held the lamp raised it higher and then higher until a broad flame became visible; an arc of fire burnt on the rim of the horizon, and all round it the sea blazed gold.

Virginia Woolf, The Waves

… and, later in the day, the slow rhythm of a vacation on a tropical island without internet, telephone, or even electricity:

after surfing and lunch, a siesta

for both man and beast

later perhaps a short kayak excursion

in the evening, a little volleyball

as the reef turns golden

and the last frigate bird flies overhead

(Glover’s Reef Atoll, Belize, with Slickrock Adventures. More photos are here.)

21 responses to “Travel Theme: Rhythm

  1. Beautiful. Your words and pictures make me “hear” the rhythm.


  2. It must be interesting to have an ocean near your place.
    Here we have only fields and fields…


  3. Oh Vlad, how marvellous. I want to run away to a desert island right now. Did you stay in that little beach hut? I’ve never been to Belize, but have a friend there who has mentioned Glover’s Reef Atoll before, I simply must see it for myself, it looks idyllic. Fabulous excerpt from Virginia Woolf too, I’ve never read The Waves but now I will. :)


    • I stayed in one just like it:

      Glover’s Reef Atoll is idyllic. One of the very few true atolls in the Western Hemisphere. It’s remote and something of a nature preserve, so unspoilt. Amazing snorkeling and diving. There are several small islands around the atoll, owned and run by different organizations, so there are several ways to get there. (The Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Bronx Zoo, has a presence.) But I definitely recommend Slickrock if you want to go snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, paddleboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding (less wintry than Hunstanton!)… The season is over now, but you can book for 2012-2013!

      I am not sure I can wholeheartedly recommend The Waves. It has some beautiful writing in it, but as a whole it’s a bit too abstract, too much of a working out of a predetermined formula…


  4. You’ve captured the place well..aswesome pics :)


  5. these are fabulous images…really enjoyed this post


  6. Beautiful beyond words. From the surfers to the breathtaking beach, everything spells “amazing!”


  7. Great choice of photo, Vlad, a rhythm that can be both seen and heard.


    • A video would have been good. Then the waves would have been heard, and also it would have been apparent that there were actually two rhythmic visual motions at right angles to each other: the progression of the waves toward the shore, and the rising and falling of the surfers as the waves passed under them…


  8. Very nice! I like the rhythm of gentle ocean waves.


  9. Pingback: Belize Blog – » Belize travel blog from Feb 2010 visit to Adventure Island

Comments are most welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s