The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Western Hills

I woke up this morning in the grey light of early dawn. The wind was howling through the half-open window and the dark shadows of clouds scudded and skidded across the sky. I tried to rub the last remnants of sleep from my eyes while tip-toing through the house like a disembodied spirit. Apart from the voice of the wind, the silence was almost eerie. I wanted to relish the moment, to stretch it out as long as I could in the hope that I would have this magical time to myself. With that uncanny clarity that comes to us during those first few moments of wakefulness, I realised that I’d had a restless night. Without a doubt, it was the wind that was to blame. Sometimes, it lulls me into a deep sleep. But  there are those other nights, when it whispers and it calls with a thousand ghostly voices.
Another October Sunset (3)
We live on the western hills. The back of our house faces the setting sun. Every evening, its ochre-coloured light paints our white-washed walls with the colour of life, before it dips beneath the hills and the world darkens. In ancient times these hills were used as burial sites by the Phoenicians and by the Romans after them. Our ancestors were laid to rest facing the dying sun. In those far-off times, these would have been sacred hills, places of rites of passage, of worship. When we die, we leave our earthly carcass behind, while our spirit soars and walks in the pathways of the stars. Another October Sunset (4)
But what of our humanity;  our close relationships with  our loved ones; our memories accumulated over a lifetime? Do they forever cease to exist? Something tells me that that part of us lingers on. Somewhere, in the world between the worlds, we never cease to exist.
Another October Sunset (5)
This morning, as the world was starting to awaken from its slumber and the cold golden light of dawn gently lit up the western hills, I wondered whose voices I’d heard on the breath of the wind during the night. With a silent prayer I closed the window and, as darkness fled, I turned to face the coming day.


  1. How beautiful, and lucky you are to see this amazing sky in the back of your house!

    I love this, Loree: "When we die, we leave our earthly carcass behind, while our spirit soars and walks in the pathways of the stars." I sure hope and wish so..

  2. The wind is particularly animate at this time of year. Maybe we can hear it better because of the texture of the leaves, nearly blown off their perches, a little brittle.

  3. this is a beautiful post, loree, and so appropriate for this time of year. i believe there are voices in the wind, and they speak to those who have the inner silence to hear them. your description of where you live and the ancient landscape is truly memorable.

  4. Dear your words and pictures...they call to me and draw me in...I too love early mornings just as dawn creeps over the hills. You truly live in a beautiful spot in this world. Thank you for sharing such wonderful thoughts...I have come to believe that we never lose those we love in this life...they live on in our hearts and I am sure that will be the case when we too are called home. God Bless you.

  5. To start the day with such wonderful skies, must be a happy one and blow all dark thoughts away.

  6. Beautiful skies!
    Loree, our block of apartments was actually built over an old Roman burial site (I have this documentation)and only now realised that we too are on a western hill and I did not know about the tradition of laying the dead to rest facing the dying sun. As a matter of fact my kitchen balcony faces the west and I see the sun setting every day.
    I have always had an eerie sensation about my flat and both my daughter and I see dark moving shadows sometimes.
    I've been told they are the spirits of the house and I must not fear them as they are probably good spirits :)

  7. the photos are beautiful, and your writing reminded me of something from a rosemary sutcliff novel. (she wrote historical fiction about roman britain)

  8. This is so beautiful, eerie, soft, and sweet. What an incredible view you have...way across the world from me. I am having some coveted quiet time right now for a few hours and I know how just how you felt in those morning hours. Loved your reference to the Phoenicians b/c R. and I just finished a wonderful segment on ancient civilizations...sumerians, chaldeans, hittites, just boggles our american minds!

  9. I love this post Loree...poetic, in both words and images. You have that big open sky in front of you in the most wonderful hues...I love the warmth...makes me want to get out my paintbrushes...

    Warm wishes from Saigon to you in Malta Loree....

    Jeanne xx

  10. Such a beautiful post Loree. The photos, the words... just perfect.


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