There’s no room for doubt, said the solid, stone house. Let’s reflect on that, stared the window pane. I’m no longer pristine, mumbled the wall at her feet. The lamp tilted her head then spoke in a tone that was somewhat lighter than the old, plastered sheet. You’re somewhere between, not ceiling or floor. It could be worse, groaned the stain on the door.
When is enough?
What is everything?
Who am I?
Do you remember that there are no answers?
We ask questions and open the void.
There was comfort in the shadows, an illusion of solidity under her feet. The trees hung back and let her contemplate the sensation of freedom. It was everything she wanted in that moment, black and white in clarity. But the air on her skin reminded her of touch. There was no doubt that she was connected on every level to the universe, but was that enough?
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.
I’m on a bus. Denmark has faded into the distance and now I’m passing through wind generator infested fields on the way to Berlin. You know I care about climate change. I’ve even vowed not to get on a plane again so that could very bad news for anyone expecting me back soon. I guess there’s always sea travel but I can’t decide what worries me more… pirates or seasickness. I’ll start by doing laps of the sauna. (I know that doesn’t make sense but they’re great).
News trickles through to the remote corners of the world where I’ve been thigh deep in snow, that Australia has been experiencing a heatwave. When I was in Russia someone told me that Sydney had 48 degrees that day. He wasn’t Russian. In general, they’re not friendly with foreigners, unless one is in a sparse, white-tiled community bathhouse with a crowd of large, naked women. Trust me, it was fabulous. If only I had my sketchbook and charcoal.
Along with breathtaking architecture and cheap hostels that were once palaces, and some photo opportunities that were golden, the lack of smiles was a constant during my three weeks in post Soviet Russia.
When I arrived in Stockholm, laughter surprised me and the variety of different backgrounds were striking. What a relief to be amongst other humans who could laugh even when life isn’t perfect. It was still minus 5, the metro crowded and I was a foreigner. Of course I loved Russia but a huge thank you to the Swedes, Norwegians and Danish people for being you. I had a fabulous time and I’m sure I’ll go back for my friend’s wedding in August, assuming I manage the next round of paperwork in France.
I’m making my way back to France slowly. There’s a whole mini series in my dental tourism escapades that happen before I get there. Hello Budapest.. I don’t require being picked up at the airport or help with a discounted hotel but bus and hostel will be fine to get me to your lovely dental suites. 12 February. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, Berlin with its politics, art, contact improvisation and some lovely friends are less than an hour away. I’m excited! The bus is approaching Frankfurt and it’s time I started looking out the window.
Take care, smile and give hugs. It’s a wonderful gift.
PS I didn’t pose naked in the snow but I did take the photograph.
There is nothing to say, she laughs. The door swung on it’s hinges, uncertain whether to open or close. The window, wide-eyed, allowed the light to enter, but only with a certain discretion. Cicadas screamed. Over-ripe figs fell to the ground. The walls bared their souls. And the day passed away.