Once upon a time there will be memories #ikaria

Once upon a time there will be memories #ikaria

I like to sit on my rock in the middle of nowhere, where I have this beautiful view to the sea. I like to sit there at any time of the day, any season of the year: I like to watch the sunrise, the soft colours of an early morning. I like to watch the waves, their little foam crowns in the blistering heat of a summer day. I like to sit there at dawn, having a little Tsiperou and listening to the conversation between the waves and the stars…

And every time I clamber down the path to the shore to find my rock, I ask myself: When will I embrace this place for the last time? When will I have to wave my last fare-well to this hidden cathedral, where my thoughts and feelings have finally found a place to be at ease and comfortable?

It is in these moments that I imagine myself as an old woman. Perhaps I have the chance to grow old, though I don’t take it for granted. I will recognize my age, when my face is reflected in the water: the wrinkles around my eyes and on my skin. I will place my steps more carefully, I may perhaps lean on a stick to make my way along the pebbled beach. The wind will blow softly through my grey hair.

I imagine my last time coming down here, drinking in the colours of the sky, smelling the perfume of the island: wild thyme mixed with the salty tang of the sea. Perhaps a grand-child will guide me down here, making sure that Yaya is comfortable. It might be the moment, when I tell my grand-child about my journey to this island, a journey that turned out to become my Ithaca. I will talk about the irritating moment, when I first set foot on this island. At that time I did not want to stay, because I could not understand, what was happening around me. But then the island whispered to me, it kept calling me. So I came back. I made the decision to come more often – a decision nobody in the family could understand. I came back to discover the mountains, the sea, the beaches, the people … I will tell my grandchild that through these encounters my wounds – the results of a big city existence – finally started to heal.

Little by little life came back to me … and I was once again able to embrace it again at its fullest. I will tell my grandchild about the dances I have danced, about the boat trips I have taken around the island, the hiking trips to the remotest part of the island. I will describe to him the beauty of a long winter night, while I was sitting with some people in a small Kafenion, listening to their music and watching them dancing. I will tell him the stories about the people I have met, the pictures I have taken, I will describe to him the taste of a figue in late summer, picked from the trees, I will tell him about my early morning coffees in the Platia and my nights at the Panigyris.

I will tell him about my suffering, when I could not make the trip to the island, because work, lack of money, long to-do-lists prevented me from buying the tickets.

I will tell him that it was finally on this rock, down here at this beach, where I understood, who I am and what I need: space to be myself, acceptance of who I am and the pleasure of sharing intense moments in good company. I had been looking for this for a long time, the road was long and difficult, but my feet walked down this path to find this rock.

I will tell my grandchild, how grateful I am to have had this chance and that I am happy I had the courage to follow the call, not knowing, where it would lead me. I faced many doubts and questions, I did not shy away from difficult conversations, I did not run away from loneliness …. not even on this island…. but this rock gave me the strength to continue and to walk my way.

This is it, this is what I will remember and what I will take with me, when I climb up the path for the last time. Perhaps I may need my grand child’s hand to onto, because my legs might be a bit shaky. I will turn around for a last farewell, smiling at the sea, its colours reflected in my eyes … and I will not know, whether the salt on my face is caused by the tears running down my cheeks or by the sea. But my heart will be full of joy and gratitude. Because I found peace. This is it, what is to remember. Nothing more. Finally peace. (@Birgit_Urban)