When the muses speak…
Ah yes, the tiny alpine flowers that spring out of the rocky clay in the mountains here in the Mediterranean part of the world. Last Sunday we joined the last official walk of the season. The weather will soon be too hot for the climbs up the goat paths that are now well worn, mapped and marked trails. They crisscross the island of Aegina up mountains, along ridges, into valleys and round again to the starting point in the village. Here we find a late and hearty lunch in a traditional Greek tavern where the fire burns bright and warm. Plates arrive of wild greens, grilled goat and warm bread along with a copper jug of fresh (yes) wine.
It was warm enough to shed layers as we walked and then pull a jacket back on as the breeze came up and over the crest. Underfoot, thyme crushes and sets up a scent that blends with the wild mountain sage. Thick stalks of deep purple lavender with blue-green leaves is a treat to run my hands over. I don’t pick it as much as I would love to because I am told it is nearly gone from the island. Rock roses, wild freesia and tiny wild orchids are bright dots of colour, diminutive on the wide mountain expanse overlooking the vast Aegean where ferries and freighters are distant and miniature.
I love the rocks as much as I love the flowers. Here on Aegina the rocks are honey gold and the stuff of so many houses. Our own little house is stucco in the same warm bisque of the natural stone with a red tile roof. These are the colours of the Saronic islands while the famous white with blue shutters and domes are of the Cyclades. As we walk chatting with one, then another we hear snippets about the history of the island in particular and the Hippocratic way of health in general. I wish our friend Matina was with us. She would describe each plant and herb and tell us how it heals or invigorates the body and how to survive on an island by eating wild offerings.
We are two weeks back from our winter in California and while somewhat unpacked and into a loose routine, this walk is the necessary rite of re-entry to our life on Aegina. It is the entrainment of heart to the heart of this rock that is wild and tame at the same time. It is to be reunited unequivocally to what brought us here and makes us call here home. This is the primal and sensate experience between Earth herself and her daughter and I am she. I love and I am loved here. …The Parade.