Today I climb a mountain on this remote Greek Island. Beyond the source of the waterfalls, lizards cling to the cliff faces. I test each hand hold before I give my weight to the mountain. The hard volcanic rock has been broken into sharp and unstable shards by the winter elements. Only the lichen-covered rocks are stable. I pick my path. The sky is racing past. A rush of adrenalin hits me. I consider the possibility that I could die here. Why not? It’s a beautiful place where I am completely at peace.
I see a species of ants that I know well from the Australian bush. We have history. Once I saw them carry away bones from a snake carcass. I’ve stood barefoot on their mounds for a dare. They don’t sting but their meat-eating preference makes this a good test of endurance. Sure, it’s crazy, but I had time and it was the days before I carried a laptop and had 305 Facebook friends. Today I feel only completeness. This is not an Italian drama. Perhaps it’s a Greek tragedy? Except there is no family gathering at my feet. I’m grateful. They need a wash.
The village is a walk through ferns, following a goat track. I heard the goat herder’s wild animal cries at sunrise and the passing sounds of bells, bleats and hoofs sure-footed on stone. But I have no desire to go to the village. Instead I go to the waterfall to wash the city from my body and remember the sweet caress of the sun.
It’s 3.19 am. Berlin time. I am dancing in the underground. Sweet violin plays the strings of my heart. Ride of the Valkyries. My soul in question.
It is Minus 11 in Berlin.
Heart rate slow.
It’s Minus 12 in Berlin.
Heart is warming.
I think of the Life, Death, Rebirth cycle.
Again and again and again.
Thank you Clarissa Pinkola Estés.
It was a good photoshoot. We hid the torn denim shorts that I thought were cool. Francesca, like so many women, preferred to keep her thighs under wraps. I believe that I nailed her vanity, her insecurity and her strength. This friendship was uniquely ours. Not to be repeated or understood. We came from very different backgrounds. Me, the wild Aussie girl. She, the American lost in France. We painted our world with ambition. Shared artistic passion was our glue. It didn’t make sense when Francesca wrote from her hospital bed. It didn’t make sense when she died. I only knew her full of life.
There’s a summer happening here, in realtime. Greece can wait. The UV is burning and the capital is empty. Everyone has fled the work ethic and dived into coastal holiday mode. I’ve had my share of joyous outpourings and returned to pluck at my canvas. Ah the music is sweet! But first I dropped into a moment of intense solitude, meeting New Year’s Eve with a sober stare and a promise of hanging out another time. I needed to think. Then I dropped into depression. I needed to process. On the third day I rose from these dreamless depths with curiosity. The world still existed post Donald Trump. It was bright and somewhat magical. Politics excepted.
‘There is no going back. The collaboration between artist and muse began in a time when there was only the artist. She needed a muse and searched along the river. The water sang as it flowed over rocks. Create. She walked the mountain and talked to the trees. Create they whispered. She knew there was only one path. It began in the beginning of time and stretched to her bones.’
An appreciation for geokalpataru who creates beautiful word pictures and illustrations. Thanks geo, for your insights and inspiration. https://geokalpataru.wordpress.com/
The Divine Tree, oil on canvas 60×60 cm, copyright Jeni McMillan
Feedback appreciated on whether anyone can see both images. I have added the smaller image into the text as it seems that there is a problem with the one at the top of my page.