Today it feels like it’s blowing a headwind, tailwind, sidewind. There are gusts of 43 mph, the sea is choppy and the sky is overcast. The colours are muted: subdued blues, browns and greens. The horizon is disappearing in to a haze; it’s hard to distinguish between the sea, hills and sky.
I’m sitting at the campsite cafe. Kim and I are back at Camping Argostoli following the week at Vigla Village with Yoga on a Shoestring. The palm tree tops on either side of the cafe are swaying this way and that and there are sounds competing with the cicadas that I haven’t heard here before, of canvas flapping loudly and howling wind. I’m mindful of the hurricanes and earthquake that are being experienced elsewhere around the world during these few days and feel grateful for the relatively gentle reminder here of the power – and mystery – of the elements.
This was the sensation I experienced during a night swim on the yoga holiday a few days ago and which I wrote a short poem about. In the water, I felt a part of the great expanse of sea and night sky, and at the same time a little like an outsider, as if I’d been given some kind of preview of what’s really going on while we human beings rush around making love, war and – hopefully – peace.
Although I can revel in the vibrance that cities offer, these days when I go away I usually opt to be in nature as much as possible. That’s why I like camping, as the ratio of time spent indoors to that spent outdoors changes dramatically, with the balance tipped firmly in favour of the latter. Being outside helps me better appreciate the natural rhythm of life, the sounds, smells, colours that consistently provide the backdrop for our daily lives. Regardless of precisely where we are and what we’re doing, nature is our container, each and every one of us.
Yesterday I was lying on the ground near the tent looking up at the olive trees. The sunlight was filtering through and the leaves were silver-tipped. I felt moved, thinking of the olive trees in Palestine and the meaning the trees have for people there. And I felt happy, knowing I’ll be there next month, helping harvest the olives for a few days. I felt deep sadness too, but this was nothing to do with the trees. Only the terrible, human-made, situation in Israel-Palestine provokes difficult feelings; the trees engender only joy.