Why are certain memories stronger than others? Years made up of days that run together, creating a muddy backdrop in your mind. A wash of events like the colors in an impressionist painting. And then, all of sudden, crystal clarity. A memory that seems to be distilled down with time to its purest state like an ancient crystal buried deep within a rock.
Sardinia was like that for me. Even three years later, this desert sea landscape continues to reveal itself in my thoughts like an ancient rock on the ocean floor as the tide of my life ebbs and flows.
Maybe it was the heat of the red-hot sand of Piscinas that singed the memory in my mind. Or the weight of our shadows as we dragged them lethargically, rippling and vaporizing over the boiling desert landscape. Maybe it was the touch of the crumbling, underwater Tharros ruins—some contact with the eternal and divine—that made the memory endure.
We kept the red convertible top down on our cream colored Fiat 500 as we cruised the winding roads—occasionally re-routed by free-range cattle—making our way to several beaches along the South Western coast.
Sitting in a breezy cabana looking out on the blinding white beach of Teulada, dotted with couples lounging under colorful umbrellas, it’s hard to imagine the caribbean-esque sand only reached its powdery consistency after years of rigorous test bombing by the American Military.
On an afternoon drive we’re stopped by a local police officer with no explanation. After waiting, pulled over on the side of the road, we notice a procession moving down the hill, chiseled out by the setting sun. A catholic rite in full Sardinian folk garb—like living, moving ancient relics.
Pecorino cheese, warm and pungent from the day’s sunshine, dense wine, suckling pig—this is the normal fare in the hilltop agriturismi where we dine while taking in the immense, wild Sardinian night sky.
These memories seem to only strengthen as time passes. So powerful was this arid landscape in sculpting the way I see the world. Even as I sit here in a post-blizzard New York, I see aspects of the Sardinian Desert in snow covered dunes on Long Island.
Long live Sardinian desert love.