I’ve just returned from 3 ½ weeks on the Greek island of Lesbos. I lived on this island, in the village of Molivos, in the late 80’s and had the opportunity to teach in a creativity workshop there in the late 90’s. This was my first time back in eleven years. Lesbos is a place that always holds a piece of my heart. I have a hard time closing my eyes when there, as I want to drink in the beauty and hold it firmly in my heart. I believe that’s the case not only because of the astounding and dramatic beauty of Lesbos, but also because my first experience of the place was when their agrarian economy was first beginning to change to a mass tourist economy. In the late 80’s we still ate locally and lived by the seasons . There was still a feeling of magic in the land.
In ancient times, when the Goddess was worshipped as the power who represented the web of life, I believe people lived in a sacred connection to the land. No one took vacations to get away from their hectic urban lives. People lived day by day with a feeling of oneness with their environment. Perhaps they didn’t have the physical comforts that we have, but they did have a sense of connection with the Earth, our material source, that we modern people have lost.
The sun sets slightly north of the harbor – red ball sinks behind dark green trees sprouting from the top of the hill. This evening I gaze at the sea encircled by the hills who meet the soft pink band of the sky where it the meets the sea. The sea moves and shifts this way and that way, painting ever moving bands and circles of silver white against deep deep blue. I sense Her presence as I move with Her Oneness. The sea’s movement is like the gentle movement of breath. I feel the back and forth pulling me in and in to the oneness of Her being, as the soft breeze caresses my body. Peace, joy, beauty, surround, engulf me.
Yes, ancient Lesbos, created millions of years ago by a huge volcanic eruption still has the power to hold my modern heart. Then at some later ancient date the sea rushed in, separating Lesbos from the mainland of what is now Turkey. Though the booming tourist economy of the past 20 years has certainly resulted in more building development and destruction of some of the important wetlands on the island, there is still a lot of wild, raw beauty left. I can lie on the stone beach at Eftalou with olive tree covered hills behind me rolling down to the beach and the deep blue Aegean in front of me. As I lie there, I feel the heat from the stones as if the Mother is warming my soul. My eyes gaze out on the same level as the sea and I can see the coast of Turkey only 4 nautical miles off in the distance. These moments are sublime. I feel myself to be one with the earth, sky, sun and sea. I feel myself part of the great circle of life.
Now my head is bursting with images longing to fling themselves out onto canvas. My jet lag is almost over and I’ll get to work in my studio very soon.