Seven years ago in Amsterdam my toddler brought home from her nursery a stone the size of an adult hand palm. Painted blue, red and white and in written in black her name. The Dutch national colored stone read: Mahdee Rocks. I think that might have been the first time that I remarked a special soft spot for the concept of what we label a rock. Her rock made me smile out loud. As we speak, my memory extends to many years before that little rock for my little girl where upon I unconciously projected my own longing for steadiness.
Carl Jung writes in his Memories, Dreams and Reflections about how he sits on a rock questioning himself on matters of reality. What is real? This rock I am sitting on is real. Or is it my perception of the rock that is real? Am I the rock then? What is the rock anyway; does it only exist ‘in me’?
Jung’s contemplations fascinated me twenty years ago because I didn’t understand at all how one could ask himself if one actually is a rock. Walking through a city parc I would once in a while ask myself ‘what does that tree mean to me?’ Hoping for the thought resurrecting ‘Am I that tree?’ because, I reasoned, if I obtain the same experience as Jung, I understand him, understanding something that I had never questioned myself. However I am curious and I just like to understand things, people, the world around me and most of all, reality. For what I understand I might be able to master and not feel threatened by.
A year ago I desperately needed a job. I was drawn to a place called The Rocks. With my by then eight years old daughter on my arm I walked in, made an enquiry and got the job.
Half a year ago I desperately lost sight of the love of my life. Everyday without him I was drawn to two rocks at the shores of a place called Safety Beach. My eight years old daughter would walk there with me every single day until we left the shores of Safety Beach to return to our own hemisphere. Sitting on those rocks, listening to the seawater embracing the stone before kissing the beach, settled me.
We’ve passed many places since and now we have rediscovered rocky shores. We love climbing on and over them. Shortly I will initiate yoga sessions on these rocks. Winking with a twinkle to all sweet strong slightly intoxicating alcoholic drinks On The Rocks, the ice cubs in the drink sorting a similar effect as yoga in our brains. On The Rocks without the alcohol.
A sincere friend of mine presented me a pebble for my 50tish birthday. To me that means more then any other present. I keep it in my little wallet. Each time I turn the little wallet around to shake the money out of it on a store’s counter, the pebble rolls forth between real coins. What’s the most precious one of them all?
It brings me back to I don’t know what. I think I am trying to own rocks. Envious of their capacity to remain undisturbed by rising and wading tides, burning sun, soaking rain and freezing cold. I am trying to make rocks my own the way other people try to make their beloved ones theirs, or material security or wisdom.
As for me, I’ll keep on rocking and rolling. Way to go.
It’s a bit too cold to just sit here. On a community bench. At the bay of Mgarr-Ix-Xini. Even if it were only for the name I readily sit here. Mgarr-Ix-Xini sounds like Thousand and One Nights to me. Because romanticism is what I am made of. It’s the sea drawing me here. It’s particular appearance as recorded in my mind. Living on a small island opens gateways to new horizons. This day’s sunset do I prefer roaring waves full on? Or an unobstructed view towards the point where man and the universe meet? Or do I opt for an inlet where seawater is rolling on pebble shore and where concrete boat landings are used for pulling in and out bright colored wooden fishing boats that are now silently resting ashore. My emotions tell me where to go. Being grateful for nature’s overwhelming reality. I definitely need something bigger then myself to rely on, to submit to and to have me sheltered.
It’s half January. Not the time of year to go out on a little fishing boat. Behind me an older man climbs into his Landrover Defender. A well kept one. I say hello. Jealous of his house at the inlet. Reminiscent of Marie Antoinette’s hamlet in the gardens of Château Versailles. Romanticism here however, manifests itself in pristine and real forms. Not affectionately made to be nice but efficiently made to live, in, through and for. A birdcage hangs at the secluded veranda to reach with stairs carved in the rock that shelters the house from behind. I wonder if it’s lonely these days at the shore where beautifully colored seawater rolls in and out repeatedly, incessantly, reassuringly alive. The salted liquid cristal is grey reflecting the soft velvet sky above her. There’s hardly any clouds. Vaguely visible is a cotton like lining of one woolpack cloud.
Although I started with saying that it’s a little bit too cold to just sit here, it actually is remarkably warm for the time of the year. I am dressed in an olive green suede body warmer and a black scarf instead of a decent winter coat, no socks neither. The cool air touches bare parts of my skin. I am surrounded by the soothing sound of the sea. Meanwhile my gaze drifts off again to the grayish water, brightened by mellow light blue tones. Further out towards the open sea the colors change to darker blue. Fresh and vivid, radiant of happiness. Which makes me laugh. Because we humans tend to project our feelings, interpretations and opinions on to other humans. What is good for me, is good for him/her. No second thought about it. That’s why we don’t like strangers in general. They’ve been brought up and conditioned with other habits then ourselves. We don’t understand. And thus are scared. So far about projection as a social dynamic between people. I didn’t know I project my inside on to the sea as well. At least it isn’t harmful. I do know that when I am happy I prefer the sunrise over the sunset. When I am sad I am comforted by drowsy weather. But regarding a natural phenomena as happy or sad without a single difference in it’s appearance, is bringing me another step closer to both Einstein’s theory of relativity and Plato’s ‘there’s no object without a subject’ miracle. What exists, exists solely in the eye of the beholder. An almost full moon rises behind the cliff at my left side. I am struck by it’s clarity, appearing in a still bright and clear evening setting. While the seawater, now the light reclines looks less colorful but still very beautiful. My fingers are cold. The moon is amazing. The sound of the waveless water rolling on the pebbles and the concrete boat landings resonates in my ears. I am receiving the present.
Five days ago I am into arguments with everyone. It must be the mellow Mediterranean sea in combination with the refusal of my tourist visa to enter Australia for a month of borderless time in an off the grid cabin in Tasmania with the love of my life. The host of colliding emotions it invokes outweighs last night. Experiencing Christmas Eve in The Netherlands alone with my 84 years old ecclectic father, sipping half a glass of champagne for the sake of it and a full moon keeping me wide awake the whole night. Now it’s Christmas day. I return to Malta, alone. I’ll be finding myself with my back against one of it’s five thousand years old walls. Risk after risk after risk I’ve taken, ‘you gotta face looking death in the eye, when you want to be with you, Reina’. Yes baby, that’s what’s my dad says about me. After having been called a kamikaze pilot for decades this can be interpretated as a promotion in the illustrous way of the anti hero. It’s not anger that is my ennemie. It is fear. Anger is not the ennemie. It’s fear. From a logic point of view yes, I jeopardize symmetry, homeostasis and all sense of security. From a Mother Earth point of view I am yin, black, drawing in, mysteriously feminine. My father is scared to death, literally. Because this ‘feminine, non logic, thus incomprehensive female mind and what drives her, leads to imminent loss. My mum having left him for ever, ’till death did them part’.
Being dead or staying alive seems a matter of mentality. The deep conviction ‘Yes I can do It’ opens every door. The giant assumption ‘No I can’t’ annihilates any opportunity. A matter of mental health.
Health that in my case involves accepting emotions and working through them in whatever way. My father seems to be as appalled with my emotions as the love of my life challenges them. I’ve turned fifty. Where is my logic? It changed places with physical health, overwhelming emotions and wholehearted intended love. Weird to unveil the dynamics. The love of my life surely has invented logic in itself. As good couples we do our simple bit of antagonizing. But it goes far beyond that. I got hearts, he drew the logic numbers. We roll the dice. Queen of hearts for him. Nine of clubs*) for me. These playing cards cross our path, falling from the air.
Around the same place where the playing cards are given to us – a bit more then a year ago next to the remake of Captain Cooks cottage in Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne CBD – I run into a natural Fibonacci sample. A stem of a flower unfolding in perfect symmetry. How beautiful. Fibonacci brings nature back to numbers.
It’s striking, mankind’s effort and urge to bring things back to numbers. Or to put labels on people’s foreheads, on glass jars in laboratories and on commercial goods. We categorize and judge. It enables us to segregate, to take or discart in our quest to control the surrounding outside world.
Even words are judgements. A word labels something. A word aims to cover a concept and unveil it’s truth at the same time. By naming thunder we took a first step to start overruling the fearful treath thunder casts over us. By naming (labeling) the treath we took a first step towards getting to know our ennemie and to master the fear for it. The fear in us is our real ennemie. Not thunder itself. Thunder doesn’t know conscious, thunder can’t intentionally come after us. Meaning if we are able to distinguish it’s dynamics we will be able to prepare ourselves, defend ourselves against the hazard. However the simple act of identifying what’s outside us from what’s inside us means creating duality. It means stepping away from unity, from the point where all is one, from the safe and protected mother womb. Thus conscience is born: basically the ability to segregate.
Whether it’s numbers or words, beta versus alpha, doesn’t make a difference. Both symbols are ways to identify, categorize and to create order and comprehension in a seemingly absurd chaotic, randomly organized and overwhelmingly powerfull reality.
Five days ago my 9 year old daughter and I spent a good hour during our last day in Malta at Comino Island hiking around a bit. There’s a succulent plant that smells like cumin. However the real cumin grain no longer grows at the island’, tells the captain who sails the little ferry up and down between Gozo and Comino (cumin) island kind of mysteriously. It surely needs some googling.
We grow as we go. And the set rythm in which growth develops is almost killingly systematic. Thank you Leonardo for sorting out Fibonacci’s spiraling growth. Spiraling up as opposed to our often experienced mind spiraling down. Thank you for merging numeral science and evolving nature.
I’ve seldom seen the Mediterranean sea more beautiful then from the rocky coast of Comino island.
Il Millied Il Tajjieb, Maltese for Merry Christmas.
*) Nine of clubs, a playing card given to me in a café last year November, is an expression which according to Wikipedia signifies: work, a job. Queen of hearts is the playing card that around the same time, same place, was given to Brian and handed down to me: Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne CBD. Queen of hearts found shelter in my passport and has distracted many border officers since.