Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Leah in the Mediterranean Sea

Megan posted here about her favorite picture of herself and, well, go visit her because it's a beautiful post and you should read it for yourself.

I'm taking up her challenge and posting my favorite picture of myself, taken years ago when I was a rabbinical student living in Jerusalem. Here I am standing in the Mediterranean. The sea was so lovely that day, and I felt lucky to be there in the midst of that loveliness. I remember everything about that moment, the smell of the water, the warmth of it, the sun on my arms. I was so happy and felt so connected to nature, to God, to the world.

It also reveals a funny thing about me, which is that although I am a water baby and must swim every chance I get, in ocean, lake, pond, or pool, I cannot stand bathing suits! I've never liked them, that clammy clinging feel is so claustrophobic. Hence the rather prudish-looking outfit pictured above. If I had my druthers I'd always be kitted out in those crazy Victorian striped things, or a calico dress like Laura wears to the swimming hole in "On the Banks of Plum Creek." Or to the other extreme and perhaps best, nothing at all...which is, I believe, how we are really meant to swim; if you've ever done it, you know...and if you never have, you must...(I know I digress)

So then, too, this photo shows me embracing my quirks without apology. When I look at this, time telescopes obligingly so that I am back there, my toes in the sand, the water rushing about my ankles...


Mr. Shife said...

What a great memory, and a great picture. It is always awesome looking back at a photo and going back to that time and those feelings. And I only have one swimming in the buff story and it involved me and the wife at a hotel swimming pool at about 4 in the morning. And that is a definitely a good memory but I don't have a picture.

Jimmy Bastard said...

You've already lived a thousand lifetimes going by your beautiful words that so often find their way onto my screen.

The happiness that you mention are moments that we each cherish in many different and special ways.

Leah, you make me smile often these days.

Auntie, aka Dog Girl said...

Oh cool!
Whenever I am at the beach I always try to MEMORIZE the experience (with all 5 senses). I fall back on my beach memories when we're deep into winter.

Brian Miller said...

you have captured this moment well, in mind and in word. good to have on days when it is not so sunny and you can disappear inwardly to your beach.

swimming as nature intended...nothing like it. unless the fish are biting!

savannah said...

what a grand memory and picture, sugar! you're absolutely correct about swimming in the nude, it is a most liberating experience. especially, if it's in your own darkened pool in the middle of the night! xoxox

(off to meet megan now!)

Candie Bracci said...

Great picture Leah!

MJ said...

I hope you didn't pee in there.

PI said...

What a happy chic little girl!

Anonymous said...

Oh how I miss the warm waters of the Med( as we called it, in the Navy ). This wouldn't be off the coast near Ashdod, would it? I too, took up Megan's challenge. Ah memories...

Baino said...

I might have to get onto this one, it's so sweet seeing people's favourite photos of themselves (I'm less than photogenic so it's a challenge) And you're right about skinny dipping, nothing better on a warm summer's night! I'm not keen on bathing suits or 'cossies' either but that's for a completely different reason!

Megan said...

You have taken my little post and done great things!

I've swum naked three times. Once in the ocean, once in a lake, and once in a swimming pool. I still can't decide which was best. But why should I have to pick just one?

Ronda Laveen said...

What a gorgeous photo and story. All the light of creation shines through in that scene. Out here in upper northern California, where it is smokin' hot, skinny dipping is a way of life growing up. That is unless the park rangers catch you. Then you get a ticket.

Megan said...

P.S. - I see the joy in this picture.

Suzanne said...

Hi baby. Would you like a pretty bouquet with that ocean?! What? Leave me alone.

You're beautiful. I always tell you, and this photo proves it. Simply beautiful. But you know what disappoints sweets? No one noticed your beautiful pearl earring. I only wear pearl earring. YOU BET I NOTICED!!! And that hat with the shells. God, I just love it. This is a gorgeous photo and I'm not saying that just because I'm your friend. Pretend I'm not your friend. "THIS IS A GORGEOUS PHOTO!!!"

I can't swim, but have been in water naked. Oh the joy!

Love you baby. Beautiful post.

*Can I interest a lady from NY in a wee blue hydrangea?*

WHAT? I'm off to visit Blottie. It sounds as if I'm off to visit myself. I'm gonna kill Bob for this one.


Mrsupole said...

The Mediterranean Sea looks so beautiful and like a really nice place to go swimming. If you had not almost told your age, I would have thought you were about 10 to 12 years old here. And that you were just visiting the area. I have been in hot tubs nude before and it is a different feeling. Kinda like taking a bath. Not sure how the ocean would feel, but not getting all that sand stuck inside your bathing suit would be nice.

Great post.

God bless.

Mrsupole said...

Hi Leah,

Hope you can help.

I am shamelessly promoting a project at my website for everyone to see.

Just click on my name and then I will also ask if you will join me to shamelessly join in and promote it too. The more who join, the more shamelessness for us all. This should be fun for everyone and we are doing something good.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

That's the wonderful thing about photos- they help to keep memories alive. What a beautiful beach! I can almost imagine myself there with the way you describe it!

Suzanne said...


I just wrote a really long note asking you a question and was about to sign off and Picasso walked across the keyboard and it was gone. I looked at the screen and thought "YOU'VE GOTTA BE F******* JOKING!!!!!!!!" Then, swear to God, Maestro who's laying next to the the computer hit the "Esc" button with his paw and I was quickly escorted off my computer. WTF!!!! Now a school bus has just pulled up and parked outside our house. Everyone's going nutty (no, not me!). Some kids are obviously in trouble. I took a photo because it's too funny. No one parks on this street!!!

Okay, so here I go again. I have a migraine, it's horrible, but not so horrible I wasn't able to come up with a brilliant idea this morning while feeding the ferals in the woods! I want to paint that photo. When I arrived home I rushed to the computer to see if it was as I remembered. Yup!

Now I'll tell you something funny. I've been sitting here looking at it trying to figure out how to use such a small photo and off the computer none-the-less. I was about to email and ask you to send it so I can take it to a photo shop and have it enlarged. I was thinking, thinking, thinking when I accidently hit the image and it enlarged. Image that. Yes, I forgot! That's the size I need, but I need it taped to my easel, so I've been trying to figure out how to manipulate the easel and the computer monitor so they're perfectly positioned. It's a bitch! If I can't do it, I'll need the photo via email to transfer to disc and take to the photo shop.

Okay, so I'm doing all this "thinkin'" and I don't even have permission to use the photo yet! Okay, so I'm asking for permission. Okay, thanks, now for the rules!!!

1) I can't give you the painting. It'll be worth quite a bit of money and I've gotta make a livin' baby. However, if I decide not to sell the painting and instead use it for prints, etc., I will "gift" (yes, I know, I've been watching to much "Clean House") you the painting once the photos have been taken and transparencies made. However, if those are lost, stolen or destroyed (by accident of course because the images will be kept in LA and you know about earthquakes and gangs!) and Sacramento is flooded, if I survive, I will need the canvas back to go through the process one more damn time, but be assured, once I've given you the painting, it's yours for life. Basically I'll just need to "borrow" it. And that's actually really easy, you simply remove it from the frame, roll it up and ship it in a tube.

2) I need details in the photo for shadow, shade and light, but the painting won't be like the photo. It will be Impressionistic. Blur your eyes. That's what it'll look like. Is that okay with you?

3) The canvas will be big and include the entire photo. Either 3'X 5' or 4' X 6'. I don't paint small. Well, I do, but not on canvas.

4) Now for something really funny! Until I enlarged the photo I didn't realize your hand was holding your hat. I'll paint that in initially, but if it doesn't look the way I want it to I'll paint it out. Is it okay that your right arm and hand may be completely invisible or that it may be repositioned?!

5) Oh, and about the shells...my eyesight sucks without glasses. Obviously your hat doesn't have shells. I may alter the hat and paint them in because the idea is adorable.

Okay, that's about it. You game?

No kitties awake. I'm safe. I'm sending this. Hope you're having a great day honey. No I'm not buttering you up. I'm sincere. Well, maybe!!!


P.S. One more thing. This process will probably take a little over a year, so just want you to know.

Suzanne said...

No, I didn't proof and you know I suck at spelling. Sorry if the above hurts!

Leah said...

Hi Suzy!

Of course you may paint the photo.

I think the best thing about it is the quality of the light, and I imagine that would be in some ways even better captured in a painting--although I know it's challenging to paint light--you know what I mean?

Don't worry, I wouldn't expect to own the painting myself!

And of course you should do whatever you like (shells, no shells, visible hand, no hand, etc.)

It's an interesting idea, and I can't wait to see what comes of it!


Madame DeFarge said...

It's good when a picture unwraps so many good memories. I rarely appear in photos, due to a complete aversion to such things, so my favourite pictures are all of things or places. Anything but me.

mapstew said...

Lovely pic. The Med is wonderful. I learned to swim four years ago and my first swim in the ocean was magical. My wife says she has never seen a smile so wide.
Haven't done the nudie swim, yet!

Cheers Leah.

Suzanne said...

Thanks honey. You know it's funny because I thought the image was of you as a child because it was so free. When I enlarged it I saw the ring and realized you were married. As an artist I have to decide which image is more viable. Have any suggestions!!!??? I'm thinking I'll paint the ring, but then blur it. You'll know it's there and so will those who look closely. Personally, I love the photo more because you're so free and cildlike, yet married.

I'm a HUGE aqua/blue fan, so your photo appeals to me on so many levels. Capturing the color is almost more important to me than capturing the light. I can capture the light because it's the degreee of value. Shade, shadow and light I learned from architecture, so capturing light is a joy, color is a whole nother world. It's like a dance. That will be the challenge for me. It always is and what I agonize over. But I see this painting in my mind and I know it belongs on canvas. Thank you. I hope I meet all your expectations. If I don't, for God sakes please don't tell me cuz it'll break my heart!!!

And don't worry. You'll end up with something. Whether it's the canvas itself or a print. You'll get something.

I love you darling and thanks.

Suzanne said...

Just so you know I discovered "Buring the Candle. What a hoot! Yes, of course I left something!


Leah said...

Mr Shife--that is indeed a treasured memory--skinnydipping with a friend? so much the better.

Jimmy--well thank you for making me smile! What a lovely comment.

Auntie--yes, I like to drag up these warm day memories when it's dark and frigid in the city!

Brian--I've been skinny-dipping countless times, and yes, I have indeed had a fish nibble...

savannah--the darkened pool in the middle of the night? fantastic. I've done the deed in our lake upstate many times, but I must admit that it gets spooky at night, when you can't see what's in the water around you...still worth it though!

Candie--thanks sweetie!

MJ--what's a little pee in the sea?

Pat--I was so happy that day it's true! Although not so little...it was only 15 years ago...

Sub--the Med is staggeringly stunning! that was a Tel Aviv beach, not sure which one anymore.

Baino--I love the term "cossies," and will incorporate it into my vocab pronto.

Megan--it was a wonderful idea for a post! I believe that I too have skinnied in all three of those. But most frequently in the lake.

Leah said...

Ronda--...all the light of creation shines through in that scene... Well, now, you just got me a little choked up! Thanks so much for that comment, I am going to write it down.

Mrsupole--it's so funny, but I guess a lot of people thought I was a little girl in that pic! I was actually 25.

Cinnamon--truly, it was the most beautiful beach I've ever been to.

Mme deF--I usually hate photos of myself. I think I'm much better in real life!

map--I remember my first swim in the ocean too! It was absolutely thrilling, wasn't it?

Books,Coffee,etc.... said...

Hi! Leah,
What a nice photograph of you, I would have never noticed your outfit...because were I live
I see people by the lake dressed in shorts, light top, and no shoe...
...during the Summer months.

Believe me I think nothing of their style of dress, from where I’ am sitting your outfit looked appropriate for a nice summer day at the ocean.

Thanks for sharing a nice photograph of you at the seaside.
DeeDee ;-D

Karen ^..^ said...

A beautiful picture of a perfectly happy girl.

I'm not sure I have a favorite picture of me. I'll have to look.