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GREEKSCAPES: An Illustrated Journey with an Artist
Pamela Jane Rogers
As soon as I’m on the path, the soft beat of a drum brush is audible. It’s the rustling together of the silver-green leaves and tiny fruits of the olive trees, I realize, as I stop to listen more carefully to the sound while focusing on the tree before me. My gaze follows the limbs reaching up and up, looking ever so much like silver-tipped paintbrushes dipping into the palette of a dense cobalt blue of the sky, then back down, down to the olive clusters.It’s so powerful and simply beautiful!
Mentally painting it all, I crouch under the lowest branches to lean my portfolio against the tree. With both hands I caress the gnarled trunk, scarred with many seasons of growing, pruning and more growth until its fruit is ready to be picked to make olive oil. That’s all I know about olive trees, other than the myth of Athena planting the first one at the Acropolis. I must learn more!
Walking further into the grove, I move slowly around each tree. They’ve been planted in a haphazard way and each olive, each limb, each leaf, is completely unique. How long ago were they planted, and which was the first? Every small thing appears miraculous to me today,like seeing again after wearing blinders for years. The sound of the rustling leaves is intoxicating. The sky is a cerulean comforter softly tossed from above to warm the resting earth; a rich and musky earth becoming a luscious and tempting mattress.
Before logic battles sensation to its death, I kneel easily and unselfconsciously stretch out on the ground. My eyes explore the sky as my body lies comfortably on the bare, sensual earth. After some quietness it seems perfectly acceptable to close my eyes andbask in the moment. I breathe deeply.
I’m moving into the earth, earthworms existing below me, exchanging my human body for one of the eyeless creatures burrowing into the soil, satisfied to be in the quiet darkness, digesting slowly all that comes, moving from that space slowly on and on to digest more and there is always more, feeling the way through the moist earth into a brilliant lightness now. It’s all the same, dark and light, and there is no fear, no danger. Time is irrelevant. All is now!
Eternity stretches on and on, not as a dream but in another consciousness, a meditation on the possibilities in this realm of pure contentment and divine serenity. Inching through the soil, an earthworm with many hearts, able to grow many more hearts in the timelessness of eternal space. This simplicity where each creature is exactly as it must be. What it is and where it is—not right or wrong—there is increasing entropy and then there is balance, all reflected in life, minute parts of a never-ceasing oneness with all that lives. It is all happening at once and it is all perfect, with compassion for and awareness of everything living and everything that has lived, pure gratefulness for the intrinsic munificence of every tiny creature resting in this place, sublime transcendence to the acceptance of life in all its variety, feeling completely devoted to and intimate with the universe, giving in to whatever it brings, with no fear of living and at the same moment, total acceptance of death.
I sense the joy increasing in this void and my understanding is complete: death is the opposite side of life as well as the beginning,with a blissful acceptance of all major opposites as the only natural balance. Lost outside myself, I’m linked to another place of primordial existence outside of any time and space I’ve known!
Only images remain from this most joyous and powerful experience of being transcended to complete peace; a total trust that all is as it must be, beyond words, beyond life and death and into eternity. I have been aware of nothing other than the inexplicable sensationof feeling profoundly and completely enveloped in this spirit of love and gratefulness as my body lies on the earth—until I feel a hot, moist breath on my face.
An amazing odyssey
By Phil Hellene on 7 Oct. 2016
"Talented American artist Pamela Jane Rogers wears her heart on her sleeve in this excellent memoir. It’s A PERSONAL ODYSSEY FROM HEARTACHE TO HAPPINESS, as the author bravely escapes from a claustrophobic marriage in North Carolina and begins a new life on the Greek island of Poros. The paperback edition is a beautiful book, sprinkled with Pamela’s exquisite watercolour paintings of Greece. Highly recommended."
By Sue MacDougall on 9 August 2016
"Pamela has gave me a deep insight to not only her contagious and courageous love of life and Greece, which I relate to myself. Just a wonderful read about life on a Greek Island and about her art work too. I have gone back to reading it a second time..."
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