The Sands of Time

Gavdos Day 6

gavdos collageI sit beneath my tree and watch the ferry cross the calm blue between my present and future. Soon I will be pulled from Paradise and tossed into the unknown. I’m not sure if I am ready. This island has seduced me with her harsh beauty and eroded any sense of responsibility. The cliffs care only for the wind that shapes their grandeur. The trees will continue to face the sun and spread shade onto the ground. I am smaller than a grain of sand but I know that the Goddess has smiled on me.

Athens ahh Athens


Last day in Athens

I don’t pay a visit to the Acropolis. Instead, I prowl the streets below this icon of Greek civilisation like a stay cat. The living city is pounding in my ears. This isn’t a tourist trip, this is a mission of the heart. I am ready to meet myself : fears, hopes, dreams and cast them into the mass of anarchy at the foot of the Parthenon. It is appropriate, for this temple was dedicated to Athena Parthenos, the patron goddess of the city of Athens and goddess of wisdom.

The heat-soaked city is full of tourists. I have a hand-drawn map in my pocket with a penciled heart in the corner. A fellow traveller from Gavdos sent me softly and sure-footedly on my way from the paradise island. I also carry a scrap of paper with the words παράδεισος, ἀγάπη, αστέρια, βουνά, θεός / θεά, γάτα. I am here to search for the meaning behind the mystery.

Several days later, on the midnight train to the Alexandroupolis. I expect to sleep but an elderly man, with the ability to sleep at the first jolt of the carriage, snores incessantly. With every rise of his large belly, he exhales the dragon’s breath of a chain-smoker. I am trapped between my travel-weary desperation for REM-time and an over-stimulated brain. So I dissect the past few days.

Even though it was our first meeting in this universe, I recognised you in an instant. Slightly taller than me, long tresses, wearing ocean blue and pale ochre. Perhaps you were thinner than I imagined but I had yet to understand how the economic crisis had infiltrated into every part of life here. Your blue eyes held me like a long-lost friend. Your smile made me forget what I had feared. We wandered through the streets of your past-life in this present moment, sharing stories, souls, silence. I knew that I could hold this moment and continue my journey. Thank you. Next stop Samothraki island.

Meditation in Nature

Gavdos Island Day 5

beetle tracks

At first glance there is nothing but burning sand. Then ants appear as if by magic. Small black ones cruise the spot where I’ve left a trace of oily sardine. Miniscule amber ones work feverishly on another remnant of lunch. It takes languid dedication to watch these tiny creatures. Meditation within nature. Om to the fish that brought us together.

Diary from Paradise

Under my tree

It is my 4th day on Gavdos, a tiny speck in the Libyan sea halfway between Crete and Africa. I’m exhausted and burnt and have barely moved from my tree! A cold winter in Australia followed by some conflicted French weather has left my Anglo skin totally unprepared for this heat.

    canberra winter

My housemates encouraged me to go. Jewelpunk gave me the lowdown on getting some sleep on the longhaul, El Eco teased me with ‘so what else are you going to do in Canberra winter? Go, you know you’ll love it!’ The Tron winked ‘you have to meet the Greek God’. They knew I needed a dose of the Otherlands. Minus seven in Canberra just wasn’t cutting it.

Of course they were right. No matter how many times I counted the less than adequate numbers in my bank account or worried about leaving ageing parents, I was already looking at maps and dreaming of paradise. Now I am here in this unbearable heat… I am here! I am grateful for the cool wind, the expanse of dazzling blue inviting me to take the afternoon by the throat and dive in and I’m excited by the prospect of time to myself to think and dream.


  Photos © Jeni McMillan

The Crones of Crete

The first mountains I see lie naked in the Cretan sun. I am shocked, not by their audacity but by their weather-beaten skin. Like plump grandmothers with hard-working hands, these Goddesses call the Crone. You are one of us, croon the ragged rocks. Don’t be mistaken, your youth has flown. I acknowledge my silver threads but the grandmothers laugh. It is wisdom we speak of. Now go ahead and follow your path.

The Crones       Crete    

crete curves

Photography © Jeni McMillan

August musings

The grass is wet.

A forest home for ants and spiders scurrying between long wet blades.

Look! A butterfly lands on my shoulder, ever so lightly.

The pigeon calls on repeat from the first light until the sun slips into the antipodean sky.

Vapour trails slice the blue into diamonds and darts, piercing through the space above.

I am sending a message to you : each naked foot is sure on this ground.

The ants cluster on my toe. I am a mountain to conquer.

Here come the flies..

They own my legs but my thighs are for you.

wet petals

Photo © Jeni McMillan

Jetlag dreaming.

My first day back in Australia … and I’m running low on zeds. I love jetlag… it really does makes sense out of madness. I’m back on the shift. Raring to go. I’m afraid there is going to be a little retrospective of the last few months. It was awesome. What more can I say? Bare with me, or is that bear? Ah ..semantics. 

nude on tree

photo: Jeni McMillan

Things that make the heart sing

Riding a bike in a thin summer dress with hair loose in the wind

Diving into a clear mountain pool that takes the breathe away

Watching storm clouds gathering in the last glow of day

Being unexpectedly drenched by rain

Giving a gift with no strings attached

Receiving a handwritten letter from a lover

The taste of sweet nectarine when the sun is strong

Walking naked through a forest in foreign lands

Finding a beautiful pebble on a rocky beach

Swimming underwater in a sun-drenched turquoise sea

Listening to rain fall on a very small tent from the comfort of a warm sleeping bag

Watching the moon rise as the sun slips into the sea

… inspired by Sei Shōnagon

storm DSC_1284 DSC_1389 DSC_1546