Sitting on the Dock of the Bay


Sittin' in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' comes
Watchin' the ships roll in
Then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah*



M and I spent five days in Koper, a port town on Slovenian coast. The coast is only an hour ride from Ljubljana, so I never seriously thought of spending my holydays there. We always look for faraway places to go to. Why not spend some more time in a town we have already visited, but left before it could leave an imprint on our memory. By memory I'm referring to the sentimental part, the one full of hidden meanings I haven't deciphered yet. And I'm not likely to, since I don't put enough effort into it. I like it as it is, misty and smelling of salt and wet stone.

I never thought watching ships could be a zen like experience. The first time we saw one was one late evening while we were sitting on the beach in near-by Žusterna. There were a couple of boys splashing by the pier and a woman having a stressing conversation on her phone. A rat came by, passed quickly just centimetres away from water and disappeared in shadows again. Then we saw the ship with every light on the bridge lit, gliding slowly towards the port. From then on we spent quite some time just sitting on the bench under plane trees near the port in Koper, watching the ships being loaded and unloaded. The cranes moved huge containers as if they were Lego blocks. Whatever was in there, I kept asking myself. Books, printed in China, because it was cheaper, rattan chairs form Thailand, Japanese paper ... you name it, it must be there. 

There's a fleet of divine beings moored by the wharf: Neptun, Zeus, Sirius, Wotan and Maks. They bring the ships in, and when they are loaded and ready to leave, they turn them and tow them out. We just sat there watching till one of us, usually me, got cold and we left. The next day there would be a new ship waiting to be unloaded and watched form our bench beneath the plane trees. We are not the only ones sitting there and the port never sleeps.







Zadnjih pet dni sva z M-jem preživela v Kopru. Glede na to, da je obala samo dobro uro vožnje stran od Ljubljane, mi nikoli ni zares prišlo na misel, da bi šla tja na dopust. Nenehno se izmišljujeva kraje, ki so relativno daleč. Zakaj pa ne bi enkrat preživela nekaj dni v mestu, ki sva ga že obiskala, a sva ga zapustila še preden je uspelo pustiti odtis v spominu? Ko govorim o spominu mislim na sentimentalni del, tisti, ki je poln skritih pomenov, ki jih še nisem razvozlala. Najverjetneje jih niti ne bom, saj se pretirano ne trudim. Všeč mi je, da ostane tako kot je, megličasto, z vonjem po soli in mokrem kamenju.

Nikoli si nisem mislila, da je lahko opazovanje ladij tako zenovsko. Prvo sva videla nekega poznega večera, v temi, ko sva sedela na plaži v bližnji Žusterni. Nekaj fantov je skakalo v vodo s pomola, dekle na cesti za nama se je pogovarjalo po telefonu. Iz senc je pogledala podgana, stekla po produ tik ob vodi in spet izginila v senci. Potem je v najino vidno polje priplula ogromna ladja, namenjena v koprsko pristanišče. Vse luči na mostu je imela prižgane. Od takrat dalje sva prebila kar nekaj časa na klopi pod platanami s pogledom na luko in opazovala ladje. Žerjavi so prekladali kontejnerje, kot da bi bili Lego kocke. Kaj neki je bilo v njih? Knjige, natisnjene na Kitajskem, ker je ceneje, stoli iz ratana s Tajske, japonski papir ... Kar se spomniš, je tam.

Ob pomolu je privezana flota božanstev: Neptun, Zeus, Sirius, Wotan in Maks. Vsako novo ladjo privlečejo v pristanišče in jo, ko je naložena in pripravljena na odhod, obrnejo in odvlečejo ven. Po navadi sva jih opazovala dokler ni nekoga od naju, po navadi mene, začelo zebsti. Naslednji dan je bila v luki nova ladja, ki sva jo opazovala s klopi pod platanami. Luka nikoli ne spi.




* Otis Redding, Sittin on the Dock of the Bay


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