Living Forever on a Greek Island

Skopelos

Skopelos

After the first few weeks, I didn’t know what day it was.

By that, I don’t mean that I didn’t know if it was a Monday or a Tuesday. I didn’t know if it was a Monday or a Saturday. The only day I ever knew that summer was Sunday, which was marked by church bells and the voices of the psaltes (singers) in the nearby churches.

Once the churches quieted, that day unraveled like every other day, until again, on some seemingly distant and arbitrary morning, the psaltes would be heard and I would know it was Sunday again. Continue reading

A Manifest and Shining Sanctuary

Manifest and Shining

Manifest and Shining

I stared at the ceiling and thought that each of us has our own unshakable, fundamental truths that we cherish and from which all other thoughts and emotions derive.  My own truths were passionless and simple: that this world is cruel and predatory, that human greed and selfishness are appropriate and, perhaps, even necessary responses – and that redemption is the delusion of fools.  I thought I knew Kerryn’s truths as well: despite all she’d been through, she believed this world to be abundant and benevolent, a manifest and shining sanctuary meant to be shared by all its sentient creatures.

I wondered if we were both wrong . . . if we were both right.

You can purchase ‘THE LAST ISLAND’ here.

Practice for Eternity

The sanctuary

The sanctuary

Kerryn:  “It’s a sanctuary. And this place – like all places could be – is merely the physical manifestation of the thoughts and desires of the creatures that inhabit it. That’s what I think. Some animals and some people want love, so there is that, others want tragedy, so there is suffering, others want to fight, so there are wars, some want to have what others don’t, so there is scarcity. We find what we seek. But this place is not part of that outside world. It’s a sanctuary, made up of only the thoughts and desires of the beings who enter into it. It’s timeless. It’s like practicing for eternity.”

You can read more from ‘THE LAST ISLAND’ here.

The Sacred and the Desecrated

The Rockies, Greece & Ireland

The Rockies, Greece & Ireland

One evening, while cruising the wine-dark sea off Psathura, a deserted island in Northern Greece, I thought that an epiphany was at hand.  This may have had something to do with the heat and the ouzo, however, because that epiphany proved as evanescent as the breeze and remained unknown.

What happened in Psathura isn’t unique though, this sort of encounter with the world’s majesty that transcends the everyday and seems sublime.  It’s happened to me at other times as well: in the Rocky Mountains, and on the Sea of Cortez, and upon the wavering greens of Western Ireland.  It’s occurred on bicycles and horses and surf boards.

It’s likely to have happened to everyone who chances upon this post.

I thought of these encounters when I heard this quote from the Kentucky poet Wendell Berry: “There are no sacred and unsacred places; there are only sacred and desecrated places.”

Those few words have changed my way of thinking.  Like our innocence, every place we encounter is indeed sacred unless proven otherwise, and we trespass upon the sanctified daily.  It’s a humbling, lifting and affirming way of passing through the world.

And I’m beginning to think that was the epiphany that hung in the breeze off Psathura.

You can buy ‘THE LAST ISLAND’ here.