Heart Beat

under-the-moon

 

‘Remove your clothes and your ego. His words echo in my mind. Of course I am naked, bare to the sun and moon, exposed to elemental emotions that make my heart beat in time with the waves crashing on shore. When I take pen to paper, images appear, as if the island is willing me to uncover an ancient story.’

Happy New year, everyone! I hope you’re having a beautiful and creative time. The Antipodean Summer is distracting me with her sunshine but I still have some stories from last Summer in Greece. Gavdos Island provided me with a lot of introspection and inspiration and I’m keen to unravel my thoughts, photos and drawings here.

The Sun Dance

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A nest is important. In the morning I hung the sarong in the east. At Midday I draped it between the juniper trees and lay in the tiny patch of shade underneath. By the end of the day it hung limply on the west side, unless the wind challenged the unceasing heat. The buddha watched me without blinking an eyelid.

The Mud Buddha

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I met my neighbours in the only shade on the entire beach. I needed to find somewhere to set up camp so I shuffled through the burning sand and struck up a conversation. This move led to a prolonged discussion on conservation and a sheltered spot under the juniper tree that I would call home for the next ten days. This surely was heaven. My nest perched at the edge of a cliff and was complete with a mud buddah and a well-worn sarong left by the previous inhabitants.

The moon calls

dsc_0151Gavdos is remote. It is the most southern point of Europe, an island south of Crete heading to Africa. I had to go there, again, and I needed to get there by the full moon. The plan was simple… get out of Athens and on to the night ferry, bus to the south of Crete and catch the ferry. I checked the internet. I drank Greek coffee with a travel agent. I caught the bus. But no matter how much I wanted to commune with nature on Gavdos, I was stranded in Sfakia. The ferry wouldn’t grace the horizon for another three days.

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.

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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.

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  Photos © Jeni McMillan