Location: southernmost part of Europe.
Geography: a tiny island, with unparalleled sunshine and wind force.
Mythology: Ulysses was held prisoner by Calypso, in this oasis.
Water: transparent, healing, alive, purified, crystal clear, turquoise, full of life-full of fish.
Sand: burning hot, sinking, gold and white, dunes, soft.
Music: a strong ocean breeze, a powerful Cretan wind, a wave crashing on a deserted beach, a didgeridoo.
Flora and fauna : an ancient cedar forest, a refuge for migratory birds from Europe to Africa and vice versa, cacti, pines, purple and yellow flowers, herbs-transferring all the majestic smells from all parts of the island right into my nostrils.
Population: naked bodies blessed by the sea salt, the sun and moon, dead trees, hundreds of dreamy stars.
Other characteristics: no electricity, wild beauty, primitive atmosphere, strong and clear light, not easily accessible-depending on weather circumstances i.e. wind, you may not be able to reach the island or leave the island, whenever you wish to do so. A feeling of beautiful and serene entrapment.
Day 10 or 11 (I am not sure):
I am in exile. Never thought, I could encounter this. But exile must feel and be this way.
After a nine hour night boat trip, an hour and a half on standby, a two and a half hours bus ride, another hour of standby and yet another, three hours, boat trip, I set foot on the island…I was finally here. I was alone. Slightly anxious, tired, dehydrated, sleepless, sweaty, thus, smelly.
During the first four days I had dived into silent meditation. No one made an effort to talk to me and certainly I never made an effort to communicate with my immediate ‘neighbors’ either. I had forgotten the sound of my voice. Every single one of us was following their routine: chilling under a tree, going for a swim, playing some music, eating fruits, legumes and fish. Wearing, nothing, but a smile. Clothes, clocks, worries and possessions of any kind are not residents in this peculiar nest.
My daily routine, my discipline as I call it, is waking up early enough to see the sun rise, then go to sleep for a while, then get up and greet my neighbors…good morning, how are you today, I’m going for a swim..and then I just enter a completely different world… afterwards I expose my body to the sun , I sit merciless and accept pure light, I eat a fruit and some raisins, I drink water, lots of it…for the first time. I withdraw back to my tree. I read a book. I say hello to passersby, I write. I eat honey and nuts. I drink water. I sleep for a little while with the sounds of the sea and the wind. I get up and have a walk. I explore whatever is there to see, smell and feel. I see the sun set. I draw. I wait for the stars to shine through the sky accompanied by the music of my neighbors: guitar, didgeridoo, baglama. I lay down on the still warm sand, I look at the stars and with the help of music I simply travel through space and time. This utter darkness that comes at night and surrounds everything, the violent sound of the waves crashing into the shore, the wind that cracks the branches of the trees and above all, this feeling ‘in the middle of nowhere’ ,although makes me feel insignificant and small, it doesn’t frighten me. Never have I felt so alone but not lonely at the same time. Time simply does not exist. My body and mind follow different rhythms now. I am at peace for the first time. I no longer think, analyze, fantasize, dream, desire, despise, and criticize. I am just here.NOW. Only breathing. Only capable of following this daily routine, this discipline. There is nothing more to do or think or say. So grateful.
My fellow neighbors:
A family of four- the father is constantly under the tree, writing and smoking. The mother is constantly socializing and making jewelry out of colorful stones, the son is around 14, he is letting his hair grow and plays the guitar –probably wants to be a rock star…and the little daughter draws all the time. I give her charcoal, markers and sheets to draw and in return they invite me for ‘dinner’ under their tree. What I will never forget is the way they go for a swim every morning.. I see four bodies surrendering through the light, holding hands, laughing on their way to the water. After that, everyone returns back to their own personal rituals…until the sun starts to set and here they meet once again over their, self made-open air, kitchen to have dinner. They invite other people as well to share and laugh. They treat their children as adults. They don’t speak with different voices, they don’t judge, they don’t criticize. They are harmoniously bonded by a truth that is called Pure Love. Of course they will have ‘problems’ but what I see here now, every day, is a truth: of the way they chosen to experience their lives. I think I begin to love them.
Also there is a guy with his dog, four Spanish girls, two couples, one more family, an American girl with her guitar, and a few other regulars who camp here for many years, considering this, their home.
The truth is that I do not wish to leave this place. This place taught me in practice, that money are no longer useful, people are not fake as long as you stay true to yourself. Given the chance, humans always find sincere pleasure in helping one another, sharing what is there to eat and always welcoming you-if you wish, at their company. They are all coming from different places, with different perspectives and life experiences. However this tiny island is taking care of us,all, reminding us that at the end of the day we are nothing but bodies, breaths, voices who speak of kindness and age, physical appearance and social status are far from the Truth. Unfortunately, I am running out of supplies, plus I see new people arriving here day by day, and not all appreciate the energy this island is holding. Bathing suits, sunglasses, mobile phones, noise, crowds…
I only write this for three reasons…Firstly, I don’t wish to talk to the people camping next to me right now, so I pretend to be busy writing some kind of philosophical matters or whatever. Secondly, I believe that Ulysses was not held prisoner here by Calypso. I mean this is a ridiculous thing to even consider: this is pure paradise…I think he very much enjoyed it here…And thirdly , well because I don’t want to forget that family that lives next to me..I want to have a chance and go back and read about them, every time I think that, is lame to get married and have children and blah blah blah…No…This is not true and for the first time ever, I prove myself wrong on that matter…It is so cool to walk barefoot towards the sea, holding hands with people you love and love you back!
I hope to meet each and every one of you, again, sometime in the future, and if not, then, thank you for proving me wrong and thank you all, for giving me the freedom and pleasure to turn into a ghost!