Wednesday, 26 September 2012

... for Your Heart's Home

I am reading the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, the poet's sister, and one sentence she wrote in May, 1800, has stayed in my mind. She is describing the area where they lived in England's Lake District, just as evening is falling.

Grassmere was very solemn in the last glimpse of twilight; it calls home the heart to quietness.

The beautiful rhythm of the words and the scene they evoke made me think - which place in the world calls to my heart to come home?

Kritsa in Crete, Greece
   And it is here, amid this un-prepossessing jumble of little cube houses tumbling down a mountainside, in the Greek village of Kritsa on Crete.
   I lived there for several months and most evenings, just on twilight, I would walk through the little alleyways of the village to the big church. It is sited on the edge of the hill, with a wonderful view looking down over the plains below and across to the mountains of eastern Crete and the Gulf of Mirabello.
   I would sit on a log beside the church and look and listen. Old men and women would be coming back to the village after the day working down in the gardens or olive groves. They'd be riding donkeys and leading a goat perhaps or a couple of sheep. In the distance I could hear the putt-putt of motor scooters and the laughs and shrieks of children playing in the alleys before bedtime.
   But if I listened more closely I would hear the little sounds - the tapping of the donkeys' hooves on cobblestones and the creak of their wooden saddles as they came up the track beside the church; the cooing of the white doves as they circled around the hillside before settling in the trees; the tap-tapping of the walking stick of the old lady who would sometimes come and sit with me.
   "Mazi, together," she would say, rubbing her forefingers against each other to denote companionship, before lapsing into silence.
   I know exactly what Dorothy Wordsworth meant - that place beside the big church on that hillside, in that village, on that island, called home my heart to quietness. And even though I now live on the other side of the world, it still does.
  Where does your heart call home?

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