Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Pilgrimage to Home...

Many years ago, 
when leaves uncurled from branches, 
I traveled over the seas to the land of blue waters,
and silver-green olive trees. 

white bones 
collected on journeys...

 weathered faces 
of people who still worked the land... 

deep, spirited eyes ~
 mountain, stone and bone

the distant shore of Turkey, 
the view from my terrace, 
sea meeting sky

An eight year pilgrimage, to a small, 
white village. Sun-baked, but with pure, clear water.

 I lived in Vourliotes, a small, mountain village on the island of Samos, Greece. I sank deeply into the land, learned the language, painted on mountain tops, became woven into the slow-moving rhythms of a community dependent on good harvests, help from neighbors, and donkeys. At the end of my teaching year, I'd pack up, withdraw all my money from the bank, and fly to Greece.... 

The first few days I moved slowly around my house and terrace, dropping whatever clung to me of fast-moving cars, phones, tv, florescent lights, human-made white noise. Once the rains stopped in early spring, life in villages was lived outside on terraces. Some folks moved beds out and slept under the stars until the cool nights of late fall. I arrived, dropped my bags inside my tiny house, and began the season of composting. Landing there each year marked the end of a cycle - a clear line to cross over from electromagnetic overstimulation to sensing, feeling, being. 

When I found Ravenwood in 2003, it had been many years since my last pilgrimage to Samos. I remember leaving my mum and the realtor chatting at the house to walk a bit out into the forest. Stopping at a mound of moss peeking through the snows, I sensed this was a place I could drop into the silence of being.... I offered a song of thanks. It ended in breathlessness and tears and a sure knowing of home: of coming home. 

So here I am, at the end of a cycle - semester is over, projects are graded, good byes and good lucks wished to students moving on, grant written and sent, winter turned spring, Sophia cat buried for over a year now, the depth of grieving for her and for all that had to be shed these few years, turned under in the garden.....

My pilgrimage this year will be to home. 

I need a moment 
to walk through the gateway, 
to sink into the forest, 
to listen
~ deeply ~
to myself
moss-green land. 

1 comment:

Reading Tea Leaves said...

An insightful post Valerianne. 8 years is a long time to live in a foreign land. You must have loved it very much.

Wonderful photos.