I've been back in the States for three weeks now, after leaving Montenegro on a sunny day much like the one here, today, at our Arkansas home. Jagged mountain peaks stretched for miles on one side of the plane, blue waters of the Adriatic on the other. I closed my eyes and allowed images of the last six weeks to parade past. . . new friends, ancient churches, three-tiered yachts and motorless skiffs, bougainvillea, pomegranate, palm, magnolia, and a husband doing work that is more a passion than a job.
The windows, which I wrote about in my last post, lay far below; but their reminder to wonder remains a daily intention. What of the second pattern that I discovered as I scrolled through the dozens of photos on my phone? What else had I paid attention to over and over again, and what messages did the images carry for me?
I share a sample of them with you, as I ponder their significance for myself.
Paths, steps, roads - obviously, my fascination with journeys comes forth loud and clear! They remind me to stay curious, to risk the unknown, to be open to what's around the next bend, to take the first step. And one road, on a mountain high above the town of Kotor, Montenegro, added yet another insight.
Drew and I were walking along what, at one time, had been a road leading from the base of the mountain to a smattering of old stone houses. Billy goats and hikers seemed to be its only present-day travelers. As the byway curved and started its gradual descent, I experienced a strong impulse -- to step off the path. A patch of green grass surrounded by trees invited me to pause and pay attention.
So, I stopped, stood and watched quietly as a family of goats skirted the clearing on its way to sweeter pastures, their bells keeping time with their footsteps. Sparrows flitted from branch to branch. Cracked pomegranate skins revealed red seeds ripe for the taking. Jumbled piles of white stones were heaped here and there, stones I intuitively felt drawn to. Without thought or plan, I gathered several in my arms and began fashioning them, one by one, into the ancient design of a spiral. I didn't ask why. I simply felt joy in the act of creating, in stepping away – even briefly – from my continuous flow of movement from one place to another.
The worn, wise road had reminded me to slow down (at least occasionally) and savor moments along the way.
*all photos taken in Montenegro by Twylla Alexander