The soil is the color of oxblood, juxtaposed against slate green boulders, violet brush and yellow sea grass.
DAY FOUR: THE SOUND OF SILENCE
Not one sail in the horizon
tearing the canvas apart.
The image of a tree
with its wind-swept boughs scavenging the ground
is not a part of the scenery today.
Yet, the old lady creeping uphill on her knees
tightly holding Her icon is.
August Meditations – Haris Vlavianos
I awake on my fourth day to find that the wind settled. As Yann has errands to run in town, I decide to take time off and do nothing but relax and soak up the welcome return of warmth, as it will be my last chance.
After breakfast, I therefore grab a book and join Tigre on the terrace, with whom I have now become close friends.
He immediately jumps into my lap and settles down to be petted. For hours we remain in that exact same position, he sleeping whilst I am reading, the slow drift of the sun over the bay the only sign to mark the time passing by.
It is only his increasing hunger and mine, as well as my increasing curiosity at the beach nearby, which at last draws our silence and solitude towards its natural end.
When he gets up to stretch before padding over to his bowl to nose around, I therefore do the same.
Yann had given me instructions in the morning before he left on how to reach the cove, so grabbing something to eat and drink on the beach, I slip into my by now battered and dusty Bensimmons to brave the trail along the rocky terrain to the littoral a short climb below.
THE SAVAGE GARDEN
This is not as easy as it sounds, and I end up hopping and jumping from one to the other through the brambles and briar like the mountain goats keeping me company on the way.
The first thing noticeable is the colour of the earth, a strange oxblood almost primitive when juxtaposed against the grey, moss covered boulders bristling bright green, deep violet brush and merry yellow sea grass.
The second is the silence. There is nothing else around except a few wild goats, the crumbling remains of an old Pigeon house and the outline of rugged hills and distant mountains looming on the horizon with which it is so sparsely decorated.
Of a sudden, I am overwhelmed by a sense of awe as well as terror; in particular, when considering the sheer breathe of the seemingly endless horizon not to mention the scale of the barren landscape upon which I stand.
Feeling somewhat insignificant and small in comparison, I nevertheless continue to stumble along the rough terrain until I reach the periphery of a long, low-lying stone wall stretching far across the fields in both directions in a manner that defies the beholder’s eye, daring them to estimate them to attempt its measure.
It takes a moment to find a gap that can be climbed over. Yet I succeed and am soon perched on one of the enormous rocks lining the seemingly bottomless pit of the cove, as large as the ones on Livada Beach that had so astounded.
All at once, I become fully aware of the extremely frail and fleeting nature of our humanity and, with that cognisance as well, how very precious each moment of life therefore truly is.
It is an unforgettable moment. One that serves as an irreversible awakening to the pricelessness of the gift we have been given and which is welcomed, on my part, with a deep sense of gratitude to my host for having allowed me the wonderful opportunity to stay at his villa.
Equally as overwhelming, the wave of love I instantly feel for the island that has welcomed me so lovingly into its arms and bequeathed me its knowledge. More than this one could not expect or ask.
COMING UP TOMORROW: PART V