The little Dalmatian coast town of Omis sits in a bowl of cliffs. The long, narrow mountains that parallel the Bracki Channel of the Adriatic curve inland at the mouth of the Cetina River, forming a crescent facing the water. The steep walls are faded grey in the sun, dotted with bright green where plants cling to small patches of soil with the same tenacity that the sport climbers use on their assents of these cliffs, fingers of roots pressing into rock, searching for purchase. A narrow split divides the ridgeline where the river passes though, chiseled by the unending force of water responding to the irresistible call of gravity. In the bottom, on a small bit of land between precipice and sea, are the buildings and homes of Omis.
The shape is reminiscent of an amphitheater, built to reflect sound and carry it back to the audience; a containment of voice. Two nights this past week brought thunderstorms, moving slowly, bringing drenching rain, lightning, and thunder. Thunder caught and reverberated inside the walls of nature’s amphitheater, focusing the sound in reverse toward the village on the stage, waking us.
I stood and watched from the balcony for a bit, lightning striking the top of the ridgeline, making the short jump from thunderhead to hilltop. A short streak when compared to the long bolts that strike an open plain. The closeness of the strikes would create impressive rolls of thunder just from their proximity, the cliffs rise directly from the alluvial crescent to reach 900 feet skyward in less than a quarter of a mile. Lightning this close would shake the house anywhere, add the amplification of an amphitheater of stone and you experience God’s baritone concert in thunder.