There was marble on the beach.
The same stone that Restoration Hardware will try to sell you as an end table, white with grey veins running through it.
The waves broke on it so casually, completely unaware that thousands of miles away people would pay a fortune to see that stone ensconced on brass in a Malibu beach house.
The juxtaposition arrested me.
We steadied ourselves on it's rough face as we explored coves and sea caves.
The granite was unaware that thousands of miles away realtors would be gushing over it's presence in a kitchen- buffed into a shiny oblivion.
I liked seeing it there. There nobody cared how much you paid for it or what store it came from or how nicely a Keurig would look perched on it. The sea had polished it, slowly creating soft curves from where the water had met the rock's face.
I think that is what I loved so much about Greece. Ancient, established, beautiful without needing to prove anything.
We get so distracted with our lives, our paradigms. The petty rivalries we have with our very selves. Silly things matter to us. Groomed eyebrows. The "right" rug. Enough engagement on our social media. Coordinating bed linens. It's all normal, of course. None of this is out of the ordinary. And there is nothing inherently bad about any of it. I love to exist in beautiful spaces as much as the next person.
However, noticing the beauty of a place so perfectly confident in its space in the world was breathtaking.
The marble sat there on the beach, sandwiched between the sheer rock on the cliff above and the sand below, as if to say "Pottery Barn who? I birthed philosophy, architecture, withstood wars, preserved ways of life for a millennia... why should I care, and why should you?"
I keep trying to forge a connection between what we experienced on the shores of the Aegean and our present life, but I can't.
I want to be more like that marble. Stately, grand, you can take it or leave it. Either way it will still be doing what it does best long after you've finished your silly trend. When the end tables from fancy stores find their way to Craigslist... then the thrift store... then the dump it will still be there. Beautiful and confident in its own right.
We didn't want to come home. Every one of us in the family grieved when we left. It was a special place in all the usual vacation-y sort of ways, sure. There was a lack of stress, dinners out, epic sightseeing, and sailing. But there was also the way the sunsets looked, the waves had a different pattern to them and the water was... [insert every cliche about clear water here] and somehow you start to understand how people dreamed up new worlds, new ways of thinking, learning, communed with the Divine, and influenced the world as we know it in that very place. You start to understand it, because your entire person starts to shift and make space for a whole realm of possibilities you once thought were relegated to a book.
Any time we push ourselves outside of our mental trenches this happens. Whether that be through learning a new language, reading a challenging book, a class, training for a race, and yes- traveling- we feel that stretch of our horizons. Those experiences give us that inexplicable confidence in who we are as people and how we move forward in this world.
I think the more we do those things we find ourselves becoming more and more like that marble on the beach. Beautiful, confident, take it or leave it.