What Has Gone Before
I find ancient ruins beautiful, inspirational and fascinating. As a writer I find them irresistible sources of fodder for my imagination. I can't help but wonder about the people whose lives were played out there, who might have died there, what events transpired. As I think about these things I seem to go deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. Despite its current negative connotation, this is a good and productive rabbit hole for me. And, as in Alice's story, I am able to reach out and grab wonderful items from the various shelves as I pass down the hole.
Over the years of our divers travels we have seen and explored some of these very special places. The list is long and will grow longer as time bears us along despite pandemics, political upheaval and economic challenges. Some of the highlights have been Ayutahya in Thailand where strangler figs caress the faces of stone Buddhas, Bagan in Burma where a flyover in a hot air ballon gave the perfect view of what looked as I imagine a gigantic Martian chess board might look, of course the Acropolis and Parthenon of Athens, Ephesus in Turkey, El Djem, the colosseum-like arena built by the Roman occupation of Tunisia under which runs a thirty-five kilometer tunnel that goes to the sea fromwhere Roman dignitaries, elephants and exotic animals were transported into the arena, the small ruin at Ksar Ghilane called the Roman fort at Tisabar on the edge of the Grand Erg Oriental that was the most far-flung Roman outpost in Africa. Of course no trip to Tunisia would be complete without a visit to ancient Carthage where we spent a day at the Antonine baths.
All the above mentioned hold their own stories, their own magic. They all have left their fertility in my imagination and fuel my efforts at historical fiction. But today, as I write this, one stands out that I did not mention. The Greek ruins of ancient Knidos.
A visit to south western Turkey brought us to the Datça Peninsula where we assisted a friend in readying her house for sale. The highlight of that trip was a beautiful hike down the spine of the peninsula from the sleepy village of Yazikoy from whence we hazarded our rental car down a wildly untamed creek bed full of boulders. Only a few dents. At the terminus we came to the Aegean Sea and from there hiked the six kilometers to the end of the peninsula where lie the ruins of Knidos. The way was spectacular with Imperial Eagles soaring above huge granite escarpments, beehive shaped cisterns, wild oregano and lavender everywhere and eventually coming to an olive grove that has live trees three thousand years old.
We had done some research about Knidos, situated on a double harbor where the Aegean and the Mediterranean meet. We learned that Hippocrates had given a series of lectures there at the Odeon. As we paused at the grove for water and a snack we speculated that Hippocrates could well have eaten olives from these very trees, as well as foraged for medicinal herbs and minerals in the heights behind the ancient city. Suffice to say the this triggered the imagination muchly.
This ancient site became the inspiration for my novel TRIO which is being published by Dreaming Big Publications, and will out and available soon. The fact that a golden vase was found offshore 1857-1858 gave me a focal point for the story which became in essence a modern Greek tragedy.
To learn more about the excavations of, the significance of, and the cultural history of this quiet place of beauty and intrigue, copy and paste this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knidos
It was thrilling to sit on the granite seats of the Odeon looking down to where Hippocrates gave his three (trio) lectures so long ago. Inspired, I took my cedar Native American flute down and around to the entrance tunnel and began to play a medicine song to honor Hipporcates. I stood center stage, playing and thinking about all that has gone before. I stood to witness, assess and appreciate, letting it all in; et voila a book is born!