Apple sigh-der

Tripoli to Andritsaina, Greece

The geology of these mountains in phenomenal. Terraced hillsides give way to tallus fields and rocky outcroppings, overshadowed by sheer cliff faces and peaks lost in the clouds. I can only imagine the possibilities for gnarly backcountry skiing… And against all odds, red roofs dot the troughs and hillsides, and ancient castles guard from on high against invaders. The sea has disappeared.

I remember what life in the mountains feels like. On clear days you are the kind of all your eye can see (but you must never go to the shadowlands, Simba). But in the fog or the haze or the storm you are isolated, abandoned atop a precipice with mystery and unknown and certain oblivion awaiting every step.

Andritsaina smells like fall. Burning wood and falling leaves and apple cider and cool breezes. What I wouldn’t do.

This pilgrimage to this mountain town has led me to construct a fantasy about being home, about gutters and apples and axes, about what comes next and what comes later. I know it won’t be true so I keep climbing higher and higher searching for whatever might bring me closer, and yet dreading the day that, inevitably, will. The constructs of the mind are a dangerous thing. I can imagine what it would be like but I know it won’t because, in the end, I invented the whole thing. Apple cider and hot chocolate are simply never as good as they sound. A passionate, persistent love affair with a place, a figment of my imagination. False self-inflicted promises of a future, an excuse for the past and the present and – still – the not yet maybe later.

All brought on by the familiar smell of the end and of the coming, and free associations that always inevitably lead back to the same exact place. Why do I even bother to write this down anymore? It is and it was and it will be. And when it’s not, when it’s not…to wait feels an eternity – insufferable – but an eternity to which I have already sentenced, condemned myself to. The comforts of familiar misery.


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