sheer drop to the sea
sliver of moon, pale blue sky
warm breeze, lemons, pine
Sometimes Bill Bryson gets it so right with what he writes I want to cry.
Consider this from Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe.
Mr. Bryson is descrbing the view of the ocean off of the Island of Capri.
It was nearly dusk. A couple of hundred yards further on the path rounded a bend through the trees and ended suddenly, breathtakingly, in a viewing platform hanging out over a precipice of rock – a little patio in the sky.
It was a look-out built for the public, but I had the feeling that no one had been there for years, certainly no tourist.
It was the sheerest stroke of luck that I had stumbled on it.
I have never seen anything half as beautiful: on one side the town of Capri spilling down the hillside, on the other the twinkling lights of the cove at Anacapri and the houses gathered around it, and in front of me a sheer drop of – what? – 200 feet, 300 feet, to a sea of the lushest aquamarine washing against outcrops of jagged rock.
The sea was so far below that the sound of breaking waves reached me as the faintest of whispers.
A sliver of moon, brilliantly white, hung in a pale blue evening sky, a warm breeze teased my hair and everywhere there was the scent of lemon, honeysuckle and pine.
It was like being in the household-products section of Sainsbury’s.
Ahead of me there was nothing but open sea, calm and seductive, for 150 miles to Sicily.
I would do anything to own that view, anything.
I would sell my mother to Robert Maxwell for it. I would renounce my citizenship and walk across fire.
I would swap hair – yes! – with Andrew Neil.
Just above me, I realized after a moment, overlooking this secret place was the patio of a villa set back just out of sight.
Somebody did own that view, could sit there every morning with his muesli and orange juice, in his Yves St Laurent bathrobe and Gucci slippers, and look out on this sweep of Mediterranean heaven.