Archives for: June 2006
I have always been one that has been strongly affected by place. It is an interesting word, as it has so many varied uses in English… to place an order, to place a bet, to put one’s self in someone’s place, to know one’s place, my place in life, a place in the sun…. But the meaning of place that affects me most is the sense of physical, bounded space that represents a “place”.
Some people can live anywhere and feel content and happy. I can’t. The space of where I live, the so-called energy of a place impacts me on levels I have yet to fathom. I have very definitive reactions to places… a felt sense that is difficult to put into words. But I must try to capture the feeling of place that I felt on Samos, and in particular, the small village of Manolates in which we stayed.
All of us visitors present on Samos talked about the magic of the place. Yes… there was a magic there… an ordinary magic… One morning, I hiked a short ways above the village and sat on a rock for a few moments… just to breathe and let the space of where I was sink into the center of myself. I realized that although I was halfway around the world from where I live, I did not feel far from home. There were similarities here to the landscape in which I live… and also many differences. I marveled at the hillsides seeing small plots of terraced, cultivated land growing grapes or olives amidst the wild greenery of the island. These small sections of cultivated land were unforced. They blended easily into the landscape as if meant to be there. When I was hiking and happened upon one, it was a surprise… unanticipated… and reminded me of hiking in my own cañons and coming across the ruins of a homesteaders cabin.
Manolates is perched on a hillside, up a steep, narrow road high above the sea, but with a view of the unimaginably turquoise blue of the Aegean from almost every angle. One of the most wonderful things about this place for me was the lack of automobiles… only pedestrian traffic was permitted and vehicles were parked in a lot at the bottom of the village. This made for a very peaceful environment, a total lack of noise pollution. In fact, the loudest sound was the fishmonger announcing his daily catches!
The only way to get around was to walk up steep and winding stone footpaths that had a sense of antiquity about them, although I have no idea how old they actually were. A deep level of timelessness has taken root there and permeates everything….
But the word that keeps coming to mind when I think of Manolates is authenticity. That is what I felt most in Manolates… and on Samos as well. Authenticity. Lack of pretentions. Space to be one’s own self… whatever that may be. And a clearness. Nothing of the overwhelming drone of urban life to be processed in the brain. Space. True space in this magic place. No need to armor the body with tension. Not necessary nor needed.
It was wonderful, in and of itself, to experience just the beingness of this place.
I spent an hour or so walking about the Manolates one afternoon, taking pictures of this lovely village… images and objects that happened to catch my eye. Click here to see some of the photos that I took that afternoon… click on any photo to view larger.