No matter where you are…no matter what your circumstances… the choices are always yours. To paraphrase Albert Einstein ….. “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”.
We all know it’s not a dress rehearsal… and yet we squander it. We try to play it safe. But Helen Keller was right all along… “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing“.
Playing it safe, or sticking with the familiar may be easier….but you always miss out on the sublime miracles, the great adventures… the exquisite moments.
Waking up to this didn’t come easy…. but I would like you to tell me what rare treat ever does. The rarer the treat… the more it’s worth fighting for…
If our lives are like a candle in the wind…. then there are places to see, things to enjoy, events to experience & footprints to leave on virgin snow. You’re not always going to win… but you don’t want your flame snuffed out without knowing…without trying…. without taking a shot. As the racing driver said following his win after many attempts: “Some days you’re the bug. Some days you’re the windshield”.
No… it’s never easy. But in the words of the Dead Poets “you’ve got to suck the marrow out of life…. or what’s the point”?
Iterum vivere tu solus ~ You only live once !
To paraphrase an anonymous quote…
We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents.
We do not choose the time of our birth, the country of our birth,
or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing.
We do not, most of us, choose to die;
nor do we choose the time and conditions of our death.
But within this realm of choicelessness….
we do choose how we live.
Long ago I learned that life is not one long “spectacular, glamorous event”… it is not one big party, or living on the crest of a wave. It is not about chasing instant gratification or eternal bliss….
It is about appreciating the special moments… the exquisite moments in life. Sadly… most people are usually too busy chasing the aforementioned to even notice them…let alone truly appreciate them. Yet… these are life’s real treasures. Those moments in time… the exquisite moments !
Beautiful weather, like being in love, is a philosopher’s stone which turns our ordinary days to gold. But not the whole day … For it is never the whole day, never all our life which is transformed in any happiness, but only the exquisite moments.
– Nan Fairbrother
Santorini Haiku poetic challenge
In keeping with Haiku tradition… I think the less said the better. All we need is an image and the winning poem. Take a moment to enjoy & let your minds fly !
“CRYSTAL DOMES NOW BLUE
REMNANTS OF GRANDEUR IN STONE
HEARTS HEAL IN YOUR AWE…”
I think the true beauty of all poetry…but especially Haiku, lies in the power of the verse to act as a launching pad for one’s imagination. The real pleasure begins where the words end… and your mind starts to paint images inside your head.
It is very hard to experience the “power of less” in a more evocative way than a Haiku verse. Three lines can set your mind off to a wondrous adventure… if only you will let it. It’s not what the poem says so much… it’s what it makes you imagine. That’s where the power is.
I think this poem by Lenita Kannis (Sydney) does that…it fuels the spirit and propels your mind to imagine & explore. The “mood” of the image above I think compliments the beautiful verse nicely….thank you Lenita !
Thank you to all of you for sending the many poems that you did. I hope you had as much pleasure writing them as I had reading them. I really hope that this has made all of you realise that there is a poet inside all of us. I also hope that the elegant art form of Haiku teaches us all that less IS more… that a few beautiful words are more than enough to express even the most complex of feelings & thoughts. I hope you enjoyed ; )
Congratulations Lenita…. an exquisite hand painted Christmas apron from Aegean Designs is headed your way !
PS: it was brought to my attention today that there have been Google ads appearing at the end of posts in this blog (they do not appear on my end – only on the reader side) . These were not placed there by myself and it turns out it was done by WordPress without notification to the blog owners… something I find totally unacceptable and really quite pathetic. I will be “working” with them to remove them asap…but in the meantime please ignore the rubbish that appears at the end of each post.
There are countless villages on this wonderful planet of ours… many of them are special… many are beautiful and some are stunning. But there is only one Oia !
I have been known to say to people “if you find a more beautiful place anywhere in the world…please call me and let me know”. People have been known to reply “that’s one phone call you’re never going to get”.
You see… it’s not just the village itself… it’s what’s below it.
and the things that go on daily in the caldera below it……
and the effects of light…season…weather and the time of day
it’s the way this village has been built and the way it’s charm has been retained over the many centuries…
it’s the unique ambience and timeless beauty…
and arguably the most visually sublime outlook that any village in the world has been blessed with !
I am clearly biased…but every time I get a chance to walk around my little village it never fails to amaze me with its simple… yet dazzling beauty. These images offer but a tiny glimpse of the village.. but it’s enough to make anyone wish that some day…some how… they will walk these paths and climb these steps… watch a sunset and soak in the majesty that is Oia Santorini.
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Now that the season has all but ended we will start to focus on bringing you more Aegean Designs images and enable you to browse and shop online. To the dozens of people that visited the studio and have since emailed seeking to buy on line… we hear you and we will try to have as many designs as possible on line for you to choose from. The initial catalogue will only be visible on Facebook so it would help if you have an account on there.
Please drop by this blog on Monday for details…
ps: back blogging in full flight again… promise ; ))
August in Greece… the islands buzzing with excitement. Most of Europe is on holidays and it seems a vast majority chose Greece as their destination of choice. The islands are a cauldron of nationalities… almost every imaginable language is heard as you casually walk through narrow streets and lanes… day or night. Santorini… as an island… walks to it’s own beat when it comes to tourism. There is no crisis here… there are no weekdays or weekends. It’s one long summer of lovers and lovers of the island… the two not being mutually exclusive. There is good reason of course… this is not just any island. Of all the Greek islands… this is the mother pearl… the crown jewel of the mythical Aegean Sea. The one they all dream about…
People enjoy waterside dining that can often be a surreal experience. From this
very spot at Dimitri’s (Ammoudi) you can not only watch the sunset and all of the old sailing boats… but after dark you may also/ see some of the largest cruise ships in the world sail quietly passed your table. There are thousands of
waterside taverna’s in Greece… but Ammoudi is in another class.
this is of course the place where your very own cave dweller has been known to enjoy the odd grilled octopus and perhaps…just perhaps… an ouzo or three.
as if that (grilled octopus & ouzo/wine) is not enough… there is a certain sunset that a few people talk about… which can also be seen from your table. Is it any wonder people lose their minds here…
summer is enjoyed in many ways… but lingering on a balmy night at a waterside taverna with good friends… fresh seafood and chilled wine… is not hard to take!
Meantime the village itself is filled with sunset visitors… each wanting the perfect photo… the perfect sunset experience… the desire to somehow capture the magic of the village… to create memories for the future.
my good friend and neighbour waits patiently for the passing sunsetters to buy
some of her home-made produce… she’s a gorgeous lady and I hope you
stop and buy something if you’re visiting Oia (speaking of gorgeous… the three
Italian kids being held by their mother could’ve made the cover of Italian Vogue on any day…beautiful family) !
when sunset is over and the nightly exodus starts you don’t want to be walking against the crowd… it’s like the end of a concert and people are pouring out of the venue just as you’re trying to go in.
but for me… none of that matters because my sunsets are usually spent at home…where the view is a lot more entertaining and I have it all to myself. When this photo was taken I didn’t realise the poignant message of the heading on the magazine page… until much later. A random moment in time that somehow captures the essence of it all ; )
PS: as there are more frequent (short) posts on Facebook than the blog…. you might like to join me there from time to time as well. The name is same as the blog (OiaSantorini)… so make yourself known as a blog reader and I can add you !
Every year on the 15th of August I have a quiet glass of wine with family and friends… partly because it’s almost always a hot august night, but also because I am another year older.
This year it was no different… except now days the quiet wine is usually had at my favourite taverna… watching what many call the best sunset anywhere.
It was certainly a hot August night… in fact every night this August has been hot. The “meltemi” winds did not appear in late July as always… and the island got hot, very very hot. This means people spending all day at the beach and going out at night after sunset. The tavernas, bars & cafes filling up and the buzz of summer echoing through the whole village. For the casual visitor it is the only way they know Oia… but for me it is a welcome sight after months of winter and relatively quieter spring. Seeing happy, relaxed, tanned people enjoying romantic dinners by the water is what island life is all about . You know that each table has it’s own story to tell… each couple or group of friends having planned this holiday for months and often for years. They are finally here… Oia Santorini, at sunset. You can feel the magic in the air…
The boat is gliding through the sparkling waves…. floating on a blue liquid she knows to be sea water but this is somehow different. The colour is iridescent and the sunlight reflection makes it look like liquid sapphire. The air, that too feels different… the light is luminous and the afternoon breeze feels like silk running over her skin. She looks up and sees the island approaching. This is not just any island… it’s “the” island. It’s her fantasy island. She has dreamed about this. She has seen all this through her mind’s eye for years. The little white houses on top of the cliff look like sugar cubes and the landscape looks like nothing she has seen before…yet, its everything she has dreamed about. She is seeing Santorini for the first time and yet…in her mind… she has been here so many times before.
The boat begins to enter the narrow pass of water below Oia… entering the mythical Santorini caldera. There is music playing in her mind and the volume is rising as the boat enters this mystical landscape. There are dark, imposing cliffs on both sides and then suddenly she looks up and sees the village of Oia… perched on the cliff edge. It seems surreal. It seems like a dream… like she has jumped into a storybook that she herself has written. Her mind floods with thoughts. She has so much life ahead of her…so much to experience, so much to feel and see. Up until now she has done what she had to do, what was proper… what was expected of her. Now…this landscape suddenly makes her feel strangely and wonderfully free. She feels like a child again… she feels innocent and playful again. She feels alive…
She grips the boat rail…closes her eyes while she takes a deep breath and whispers to herself…”change me”.
No…this is not the first page from a Mills & Boon novel with Fabio on the cover (sudden image flash of him on the roller coaster with a broken nose following a close encounter with a seagull – ridiculous concept). No dear reader…. this is a lot more real. This is a what happens daily to dozens of women (and if you change a couple of the words… it just as easily applies to men), who visit this island.
Few places on earth have the power to mesmerise you from afar… without ever setting foot on them. In most cases once you get there they are a disappointment. Your fantasy is a very powerful dream-machine… one that most “actual” places find it impossible to compete with. Your fantasy is based on your perception of perfection and no place can be perfect. No place can be better than the ultimate paradise you have conjured up in your mind. That is of course as long as your mind can conjure up arguably one of the most incredible visual displays of raw nature on this planet. This is where Santorini is different to most places. As a friend once said to me “it’s the only place I know that’s much better than the postcards”. The difference is that it is impossible for your brain to conjure this landscape up on it’s own. The real will always be better than your imagination… and this is where the magic spell begins. Your eyes capture the images… they send them to your brain, which… after an initial denial period, carefully files the images away…. only to retrieve them regularly when you need to experience “mental escape”. So people dream… often for years. They experience daily life with all it’s ups and downs, the happy times and the sad times. But all the while the images remain… the fantasy is alive deeeeeeep in the brain. Add some frustration because life hasn’t quite worked out according to plan… and you have the perfect mental storm for Santorini-fever. It can sometimes be a life-long craving… other times it becomes an ongoing obsession and other times it becomes a once-in-a-lifetime experience that changes people for ever. More often than not you will find yourself relaxing with a glass of wine over dinner or in conversation… and little movies start playing in your head. Your brain is mining the archives…
I’ve seen millions of people visit here over the years and met many others that visited the island when younger. By far the happiest of these people are those that came here with the ‘right’ attitude, an open mind… a willingness to experience, an anticipation fuelled by their imagination. Like our leading lady at the start of this post…. they looked and whispered “change me”. They opened themselves to the island to weave it’s magic. They tuned their mind to the spiritual presence of this wonder of nature. They were rewarded with wondrous memories and often a life-altering spiritual awakening.
It’s quite amazing what can happen to you if you are open to change… even on a daily basis in your home environment. You can hear spoken words or see an image, listen to a song lyric or read a quote… and suddenly, you are dreaming. If you allow these experiences to change you… chances are they will.
It can be the beginning of something wonderful in your life !
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In the meantime… here is an image to help your mind drift to my part of the world. It was taken at sunset and it was only much later I realised how poignant the captured magazine image is for the lifestyle I have chosen. The page was opened randomly when I decided to take a quick pic… somehow I think the quick pic captured a lot more than a sunset scene….
PS: maybe we will continue the adventures of our lady-traveller another time…