A couple of months back, in the short space of four days, I was able to rekindle that warm, soulful realisation.
With friends, I travelled to one of the many western peninsulas of Scotland, to a small cottage overlooking Loch Sween: a narrow stretch of water outlining several inlets. There was a jetty; from the rocks there I watched the tide come in, and absorbed the painted, raging colours of the ephemeral sunsets that soon enough, faded away into a deep midnight blue. Before the light faded each evening, for what seemed like a fleeting moment, everything in view was etched with a delicate, golden lining of light. Everything in those moments was still.
We swam in the freezing cold sea, saw seals, went on long walks in wellington boots, laughed in the rain, found an abandoned boat shed hidden in the overgrown verdure of early summer, ran and stumbled on rocks, saw the mountains of Jura (the island where Orwell wrote 1984!), got left on an island travelled to by boat; it was pure wonder, and I would not have changed any of it for the world. And for that, I am most grateful.
Olive trees and lemon trees were painted across a rustic landscape as I made my way to the secret garden. As I drove, the summer-coloured fruits of the many thousands of fruit-bearing trees streamed past my vision, like vivid dashes of watercolour on the pages of my sketchbook.
I really miss those views. Sometimes, I think that all I have left of them are old pictures and the paintings in my crumbled notebook that I took with me so often upon visiting.
When we arrived, I sat in my usual spot: under the aged, now withering grand olive tree. He had looked over me for almost two decades growing up. I dug out my sketchbook and started, as I always did.
I can never quite forget my last glimpse at him. There was a sense of betrayal. His impenetrable resistance to my attempt of conciliating his anger pained me.
As time went by, I had produced pages filled with oblong leaves, dotted with its ovular fruits. Splashes of rich green and yellow hues, and flecks of gold coalesced to create its form.
I one day wish to return there, to my secret garden. But for now, I will relive those moments through my drawings.
Mediums used: watercolour, pencil
Reading Khaled Hosseini’s ‘And the Mountains Echoed’, I was reminded of the symbol of my childhood – my olive tree. It rests in my old countryside home in Sicily, and I wish to draw it once more.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” -Rumi