Ancient Bottles of Crusted Emotion…


Separation Anxiety, like incredibly ancient crusted wine, lies at the bottom of my Greek bottles. Nothing shifts it, for it is baked into the fired glass by centuries of exposure to scorching Cretan suns, has become a part of the curvaceous whole.

I have travelled far – into a very new land. My imprint in the sands of this beautiful Vale of Avalon is not yet deep or secure; wind storms cover it over and obliterate the shallow mark.

I mourn, at times horribly, painfully, for some of those I left behind in the old world; those who were dear to my heart; those with whom I had a connection and, in some cases, a special language.

This is a time of acute rootlessness suspended, as I am, between two places, two times. Distance in the heart can be nothing – or it can present as an abyss of anguish, a chasm of chaotic and cruel separation, an unbridgeable gap between two nations.

I hold my sun-warmed, salt-smelling bottles close to my aching chest, inhaling the fragrance of old raki, of thyme and dung and rosemary and oregano; of feelings dipped in herbs and laid out to dry in amphora used millennia ago.

It is about loss. It is about what I was, and no longer am. It is about being cast aside; of being pushed away from the bank of known security and, in a very few cases, love. It is about the deep fear that the frail herb of love, of bonding, will not survive this wrenching transplantation to a new landscape, different soil, a climate quite at variance with any known before.

It is all about my centuries-long habit of filling these wonderfully-wrought containers with emotional wine I do not wish to share, and of seeing its rusted flakes littering the bottom.

It is about a sobbing yowl, across wine-dark sea, and through a tempest of fearful dislocation, as the ship carries me out over bucking waves, crunching and crashing through white-foamed water mountains; it is about the deep terror that safety has gone; that the shoreline getting ever-fainter represents much more than a curved line on an old map.

It is about the power of missing real people; of the raw wound of separation; of having to relocate; of emotions so strong that they pass through moments of hurtful astringency.

It is about the age-old nightmare fear that those left on the mainland will forget my existence – and that, for some, out of sight truly is out of mind.

Papyri of received wisdom do not soak up the tears or soothe the aching soul. This is a Valley of Darkness I must travel, alone. It is part of the moving experience. In every sense. Loss is not neatly linear. The metaphor of the bottle does not suffice as a container for the great frothing tsunamis of intense emotion.

Do I have to obliterate my mark upon that now-distant land in order to truly graft myself on the new one? If so, it is a frightening thought and, potentially, an even more petrifying action.

I do not want to let go. But the bottles, heat-slimed through age and uncharacteristic sun-baking, slither and slip in my sweating hands. They may shatter into antediluvian-dried-wine-spattered shards whether I want this or not, releasing the faint scent of libations long gone and the minute bound mummies of dead love.