The Greek habit of sitting, watching the world go by for
long periods of time is infectious. Since arriving on the Greek mainland
we have enjoyed the leisurely pace and have sat, for extended periods,
in the road side cafe's watching the Greeks watching us, watching the
things that they are watching. Today as we ate breakfast in the old port
of Golitho a woman sat on her box cutting up slabs of fresh octopus. Having
seen the fresh catch arrive it will be fish on the menu tonight. Meanwhile
an old man who had been walking the town square, crying out in unintelligible
Greek was there again this morning. I suspect he was trying to sell lotto
tickets but that is a wild guess. From our harbourside seat the town of
Golitho seems to perch precariously on the slope. The jumble of buildings
looks attractive - a bit like Amalfi or a Sicilian port. But it doesn't
pay to look too closely because half of the buildings are falling apart
- are in fact derelict.
When we traveled throughout Western Europe both my husband and I were fascinated by the small fishing harbors that dotted the countryside. Drifting from place to place we longed to find moorage.
Writing for Well-being
Ever since mankind started to float off on lakes, rivers and seas the anchor has been a vital component. Without the anchor a sailor would not begin the journey.
In the world of symbols, the anchor represents hope, confidence and salvation. As the anchor secures the position of the ship in the harbor and holds it steady during storms on the open seas, so it anchors the soul in a serene harbor not found in this life. Because the anchor is secured to a firm base, it provides hope.
The anchor of the ancients has been associated with many superstitions and was a ritualistic object for sailors. It was the most important part of the ship, upon which the safety and lives of the sailors often depended. For this reason, on the metal stock of many anchors we can see appeals inscribed to the demons of the deep to ensure that the anchoring of the boat was always successful.
The writer seeking a place to moor often looks around for a place to throw down an anchor. Acclaimed cartoonist, Jack Kirby, acknowledged as the most prolific and dynamic comic artist of all time, was asked how he managed to come up with the idea of some of his more unusual characters. Kirby said, "I realized I had to find with something new..I couldn't depend on gangsters forever. And so for some reason I went to the Bible, and I came up with Galactus. And there I was, in front of this tremendous figure, who I knew very well, because I always felt him in my life, and I knew I certainly couldn't treat him the same way I would have treated any ordinary mortal character." In turning to the Bible Kirby found anchorage and gained fresh momentum.
Silver Surfer: the soul of man Kirby's most popular character was the Silver Surfer, whose inspiration was religious: "The Silver Surfer is the way I feel when I read the Bible," Kirby admitted in a 1989 conference. Ancient parables hold that the soul of man is tied to the human body by a silver cord, which anchors it to the flesh. In a like manner, the Surfer was imprisoned on Earth by Galactus, as punishment for defying the planet-consuming deity when he set his sights on Earth.
Personally I have found anchorage within the mythology of Ancient Greece. The familiar characters that people Mount Olympus have guided and directed me, providing safety and security at a time when, to be anchorless would have meant drifting. With this anchor held fast I have, time and again, found inspiration. With a silver cord my soul is tied to Greek Mythology.
When we traveled throughout Western Europe both my husband and I were fascinated by the small fishing harbors that dotted the countryside. Drifting from place to place we longed to find moorage. An abiding memory will be finding brief anchorage amid a clutter of anchors and nets at Riomaggiore on the Cinque Terre in Italy.
Remember the old stacks-on-the-mill game we played as children, where everyone fell awkwardly on top of some poor soul and each other? There were legs, arms, torsos, heads splayed in all directions in a disorderly pile. Well, I remembered that bizarre party game when we wound our way through Riomaggiore and the other terraced villages of the Cinque Terre on the Riviera Latino.
In these terraced towns pastel pink, burnt Siena, Salmon, cream buildings all cling awkwardly to one another, hugging the sheer cliffs above the sea. However, whereas the hapless players of my childhood game were invariably forced to concede, for fear of losing a limb, these rock climbers have endured for centuries. There is nothing tenuous about their tenure. They cling on, their tentacles forming a maze of foundations that defy engineering imagination, clawing deep within the rocks. And, despite the relentless pounding of the Ligurian Sea those rocks remain steadfast, bearing witness to generations of men and women who have lived and worked here. Cockle shells, fishing nets, aged ropes, fishing baskets cling tenaciously at the seas edged, the white foam of the ocean weathering them, the relentless summer sun bleaching them. Wooden doors fill archways carved out of the rocks, narrow stairways, alleyways, all provide pedestrian access within the stack of buildings.
A sensuousists delight, Riomaggiore is full of surprises - not the least being a rock pathway that leads the hiker off to Manarola, the second of the famed five lands. It is a path much traveled, a path that was once the only means of accessing the other villages. To walk it is to walk back in a time long gone.
Spared rampant tourism by its inaccessibility and physical demands this path makes no concessions to the unfit. True the first part is an easy amble, but if you want to see the jewels that the Cinque Terre has to offer you have to trek over uneven stones, gnarled old olive tree roots, up the craggy mountainside, only to clamber cautiously, watching each step, down the other side.
Fellow hikers jolly one another's spirits, encouraging, reassuring
that the next village is even more intriguing, that the good wine, Pizza,
Gelati, pastries await to indulge and reward the tired body. What they
often fail to mention is all the other treasure, such as the winding alleyways,
the frescoes, the Virgin Mary Statues, the intriguing doorways, the fishing
boats or the church bells chiming to punctuate the day.
Create a room
of your own, a safe haven. a notebook where you can moor and find
safety and stability.
Write about harbors, moorage, anchorage, drifting or whatever springs
up from your sub conscious in response to this subject.