Friday, August 20, 2010

Long Live the Sea

Sounio, Greece

We drive south from Athens, along the serene Aegean Sea to the southernmost point of mainland Greece: Sounio. The gorgeous aquamarine horizon draws me in. Sunshine reflections make me drowsy--golden sprays across the water.

Poseidon's Temple. A grand temple to the god of the sea. The creater of islands. Calm seas. Earthquakes. The sanctuary stands atop sheer cliffs along the coast. A landmark for sailors. A site of striking beauty.

First mentioned in the Odyssey as Menelaus' first stop. The first temple was built around 500BC but never completed--but destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC. The current Temple of Poseidon (and a temple to Athena) was constructed on top these old ruins in forty years later. Fifteen of the original Doric marble columns stand today.

Again, I feel that peace walking around these ruins. Maybe it's the ocean breeze. The absolute quiet. The solitary olive tree that stands guard. I'm struck by the white columns contrasting so vibrantly against the sapphire sky. Their royal construction. Solid. Ground to sea and earth of times long gone by. What magic is it that makes them still stand today? I am thankful to science for unlocking ancient mysteries. Thankful for stories and myths that spurred the oldest of imaginations. Thankful for builders who constructed such beauty with heart, soul, and grace.

The power of Poseidon truly lies here. I can see it in the sparkle of gold on the water. Smell it in the purest of air. Sense it in my son's eyes.

Long live the sea. Long live Poseidon.

(thank you steve for your far away temple shot!)


Laura Resau said...

LOVE these pics and descriptions of your trip! It really makes me want to go to Greece now... I went years ago and it still ranks as one of the most beautiful places I've ever been!

Lori said...

Thanks, Laura--that means a lot coming from you! Yes, I think Greece is definitely one of the most beautiful for me too. It's just so rich magical. Can't wait to see you soon!

That Ridiculous Girl said...

I can't believe those columns are still standing. My jaw dropped looking at these pics. :) Fascinating.

Lori said...

I live for jaw-dropping moments. That's what happened to me too! They are standing--despite the Earthquakes and destruction in war--with a little help from archeologists. But those Greek architects ROCKED!