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Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “living”

A Platanus of history

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©MCD

There is a quote that says, “imagine if trees gave free WiFi; we’d all be planting like crazy. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe”.

Trees are more important and vital for our lives than we believe or even give them credit for. They contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. They produce the wood we use to light our fireplaces in the winter, make our furniture, even the paper we write on. Yet, we cut them down without second thoughts.

It is no wonder then, that when we come across a tree that is centuries old we treat it as a wonder of nature. We stand before it dumbfounded, gazing at this stupendous sight. And it makes you truly feel small and insignificant.

There is a place in North Evia, Greece, somewhere along that nature-blazing road that has you driving among trees, on your way towards the Kyreas River, in between the villages of Prokopi and Mantoudi. There is this place where a sign will direct you to the “Great Platanus”. A plane tree that residents will tell you has been there for centuries. It is “a tree of huge dimensions”, as the sign reads, a “monument of nature”. A Platanus Orientalis. It is 22-23 metres tall, with its trunk’s circumference reaching 18 metres, its trunk diameter at 5.5 metres, the surface of its stem at 900 square metres, and its shadow said to be once stretching over 2.5 acres. Its age is estimated at 500-600 years, although some say that it exceeds 2,300 years! It is said that this is the most ancient Platanus in the Balkans, perhaps even the whole of Europe.

20171028_133927Its tree trunks are larger than what can fit in your wide-open arms. It stands imposing before you and, even though lacking in foliage and somewhat deserted and with broken branches, the vastness of this tree is not diminished. Rather, it is a refreshing site in a world full of asbestos and tar. There is also a huge hollow in its trunk, big enough for 10 or more people standing. In it, you suddenly forget all the problems that trouble your head daily. You take a deep breath and simply be grateful for being alive. For being there. And for being able to witness this. Just think about all the changes this tree may have witnessed. It was there before you and will probably remain so even after you.

20171028_133932As with all over-aged creatures, there are myths and legends surrounding this tree. For example, it is said that if someone falls asleep in its hollow, they will fall ill or harm will come to them, as goblins will come out and cast a spell on them. In another legend, if you are found at midnight under the tree, you will hear voices, music, violins and clarinets, and see fairies and goblins appear dancing at the shores of the river. In yet another, it is said that at midnight two large rams come out of the platanus and start noisily fighting each other. This tree is often associated with fairies and goblins as it was believed that, being over-aged, it was also haunted.

No matter the stories, however, the reality remains that this, like so many others, is part of our natural heritage and should be protected and preserved. We devote so much of our time, energy and funds to things that matter less, yet we abandon those that benefit us more.

N.B. All photos are mine, taken in North Evia, Greece, on 28 October 2017.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Gratitude

 

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Master your days

http://lemerg.com/967936.htmlEvery day is a new opportunity. You’ve heard it before. But you know it is true. Because you wake up each day having a new target in sight. At least you should. And you don’t know how much you’ll manage to accomplish, to achieve, to fight, to tolerate, and to accept, until the moment you re-think you’re entire day when you return to bed that night.

Every day teaches us to be stronger. It makes us see that we are worthy and capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. That if we set our minds to it, we can “move mountains”. We are richer in more ways than we acknowledge. And if we read a little bit more, open our eyes a bit wider and allow our minds to broaden, we will find that enlightenment will sweep its way into making our lives better.

Every day we realise that we need to constantly improve. That we won’t always receive what we give; not even what we expect. We see that we’re not always surrounded by people who want our best. In fact, there are so many hypocrites around us, filled with jealousy and envy. Everyone we meet is there for a reason. Those scornful of us are to prove that we are doing something right, being better than them. Life has a way of providing lessons, either through the people we meet or through the situations we face.

Every day is a journey. To find out how much further we can travel. How much better we can be. How stronger, kinder, braver.

Every day is a chance to make life better. Don’t waste it.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Enlighten

Take a breath of life

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BuY3ZuxIEAAVFHC.jpgTake a deep breath. Slowly. Inhale and feel the air enter your lungs and fill your insides. Close your eyes. Now exhale. Free your mind of your thoughts. Allow yourself to be conscious of what you’re doing: you’re not just breathing. You are being alive.

Now do something more. Don’t just exist. Try to live.

You don’t need to worry so much about everything. Life has a way of making everything work out. Some way or another everything will fall into place.

And remember, smile. It’s the prettiest thing you can wear, and it’s contagious.

You’ll always be hit by negativity – from the people surrounding you to events that affect you. But you need to train your mind to see the positive behind it all, or rather despite it all. Don’t allow a little negativity to stop you from seeing all the good that’s around you.

Happiness, they say, comes from inside you. You just need to find the motive to bring it out.

It’s all a matter of choice. Just like the quality of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

So breathe.

Believe that better things are coming.

Breathe.

Everything will be all right.

If each day was our last

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©MCD

“What would you do if it was your last day on Earth?”

Psychologists often use the question to calm you down. To make you realise what is truly worth your attention and the degree of stress you devote to an issue. It helps you prioritise your problems and makes you see how small most of them are. Because we aren’t going to live forever. But we should make every minute of that existence count.

So what would he do if it was his last day? Alfie let his eyes gaze beyond the horizon as he pondered this life-existence question.

For starters, he would want to spend this last day – and most of his days actually – with the people he loved. He wanted to be happy. To leave, remembering what that feels like. That irreplaceable sentiment of feeling your heart full of love, laughter and happiness. Of feeling complete and of having everyone you want to spend your life with right next to you.

Then, he would like to go on a road trip; to drive through a forest, to feel the breeze whistling through the leaves, to take a deep breath and feel his lungs fill up with oxygen. To feel that you are inhaling life.

And he would want the day to end at the beach. To listen to the waves slowly caressing the golden sand. To watch as the sun set into the ocean, painting the sky shades of yellow, orange and red.

He would want to live his last day as fully as possible. With no regrets. Nothing that would alter or in any way affect a good mood.

“You know, Alfie,” said his psychologist with a wisdom grin on his face, “you can fill your life with days and moments such as these you described. All you have to do is pretend every day would be your last. And you’ll cherish every single minute of the time that is given to you”.

Work (a) fortune

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©Fatima Fakier Deria

You should be as lucky to work at the docks”.

It was something he heard his uncle constantly say, whenever he saw him once or twice annually. As a young boy he looked up to his favourite relative because he would always have an interesting story to say. Rather a bunch of them. He made life seem so spectacular, so adventurous, so….worth living.

But it was only when he grew up and actually got a job supervising the deliveries of a container ship that he finally understood what his uncle meant.

Life at the docks was different. It was simply…more.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Fortune

When time stops

rope bridge sapa vietnap“Come on!!” she bounced impatiently in front of him, her face beaming with excitement. The adrenaline pumping in his body made his heart feel like it wanted to pounce out of his chest. He looked ahead, trying to avoid looking down.

A rope bridge extended in front of him. It was everything but what you would describe as ‘safe’. But this is what she described as “an adventure”. “Something different; something spectacular; something out of the ordinary,” she had told him.

Come on!! It’s either this or skydiving!”

“I’d much rather do the latter at the moment,” he replied trying to contain the tremor in his voice.

“Well, if a step breaks on the way we might do both!” She joked, but deep inside she was as scared as he was terrified.

He paused for a moment, allowing himself to inhale the amazing scenery that surrounded him. It was all so serene; so quiet; so calm. It was as if time had stopped.

That is how he always felt with her. As if nothing and no one else mattered. It was a record for him. Falling so deeply and feeling so much in such a short time. But it was one he was happy to break again and again if it meant being with her and experiencing so much more than he could have even imagined before she came along.

“Come on! It’ll be dark soon.” She extended her hand as she pranced ahead bravely feigning a first step.

“Wait!” he called out.  He took her hand and aligned himself beside her.

Together.”

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Record

Quicken your heartbeat

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-a8AU5m2uuX0/UrhdPNA44JI/AAAAAAAABLs/ZCAgiP7gAY0/s1600/Tropic+Waterfall+-+Animated+Wallpaper3.jpgWe are our memories.

The moments we create.

The experiences we live.

The feelings we share.

The thoughts we make.

So quicken your heartbeat, to live a little wilder, to laugh a little harder and to love a little deeper.

Let your pulse race to live a little stronger and fill your life with those instants that take your breath away.

Allow yourself to live as fully as possible and become better, stronger and happier with each passing day.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Quicken

The secret of the clock

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/8b/21/73/8b217389a0dfee194b8779f5664126af.jpgWhen the house was silent, it was the only thing that could be heard. But even above the voices, its ticking sounded strongly, giving rhythm to the time that passed. It alerted its co-residents as to the time of day, the minutes and hours that passed by. But it also reminded them of that wonderful day when they first bought it and made it an intrinsic part of their home.

The couple that owned it was one that had already been together for half a century and continued to love each other as deeply, truly and wholly as the first day they met. The cuckoo clock was a souvenir from a winter holiday in the Alps. One where they fully enjoyed the festive season, the snow, the joy and the glow that the decorations brought along, and the carefreeness of becoming a child again. It served as a reminder that time is the moments you spend enjoying your existence.

As the cuckoo sprung out of its little home upon every half hour, the people of its home became all the more aware of how quickly time passes. Of how important it thus becomes to live every moment as it comes, to embrace the people surrounding you, to share the love in your heart, and to allow your subconscious to be without remorse and unfulfilled ambitions.

The cuckoo called out to them to live, and not just exist. Because it is the memories of a life well spent that fill our hearts with the energy to carry on.

 

Happy New Year, make it the greatest one yet!

Three lives

http://grandvoyageitaly.weebly.com/uploads/3/7/2/7/37277491/3805826_orig.jpg?332All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.” Gabriel Garcia Marquez believed that we create who we are by what we share. For example, the public life is that which any ordinary person can see of you; the private life is that open only to close friends, loved ones and family, or to someone who is willing to investigate and discover it; and the secret life is that that which is kept only to oneself (and sometimes even from oneself!).

Our personality is formed according to the experiences we have, the relationships we create, and the things we share with others. Perhaps in this digital age, it becomes harder to have a private or secret life, but we all have things we only disclose to those closest to ones, and thoughts that we only keep to ourselves.

The things we let out are what makes us who we are. But it is also those things we don’t say, that influence who we become. It takes strength and courage to let people into your life, let alone your mind and heart. And it is only with time that you manage to discern who those truly worth it really are.

What we need to remember though, is that in the end, we only have one life to live. So let’s make the most of it.

The robbers of our thoughts

http://www.chinatour.com/uploads/1404895010.jpgWe think too much. So much that having second thoughts seems natural. Only they come for almost everything and steal away the thunder of the impulses we make as first thoughts. Then slowly the excitement of what we first considered begins to fade away, transforming into doubt and allowing those second thoughts to question all the actions and choices we make.

Euripedes had said, “among mortals, second thoughts are wisest”. Sometimes, however, dwelling too much on a decision to take will only fill you with even more doubt, to the extent that you will never be truly satisfied with whatever choice you finally do make.

Sometimes we just need the impulses. To spice up our lives. To discover that not everything needs to be planned. And to realise that, for whatever reason, there are things that just happen. And we are happier because they do. With no questions, no doubts, no second thoughts.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Second Thoughts

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