The evidence is there, if you know where to look for it. We`ve all seen it, most likely, without paying too much attention.
Odd sightings of carelessly abandoned campsites, more oft haphazard constructions from reeds, palm branches, stone, or ripped and destroyed canvas tents. Sallies to offshore isles, commonplace rambling hikes along boundless coastlines that flounder on fiery horizons, has invariably revealed assorted abandoned quarters, which once offered a short lived abode to modern day fugitives. The mind`s fancy, easily creates an image of long haired, sun-bronzed hippies, attired in loin cloth alone, wielding make-shift fishing spears and unruly beards. Not improbable for sure, however, sheer location should dictate how these fugitives conduct their off-the-grid lifestyle.
A couple of decades ago, the headland off the Elounda salt pans offered residence to a long haired hippy of a kind, only this particular hippy was a bare-skinned, middle aged lady.
Our initial encounter found us on an early morning quest to view that day`s sun rise. Settled on the rocky end of the beach, with sights aimed keenly East, awaiting the marvel of the day, our focus was suddenly disturbed by a female voice, in broken English, demanding a cigarette. No pleasantries, no greetings, just “give me a cigarette” We could only assume she had forfeited her spear on a previous haggle for a smoke, but the predominating image was otherwise, complete.
Bright, intelligent eyes from beneath a mop of wild, unkempt, blond hair, watched our hands intently, as we proferred her, her next coffin nail. Leathery, sunburned skin concealed her scrawny physique, which seemed to border on emaciated. Immaculate, chalk-white teeth, flashed from within her dusty face. We felt it would be useless to refuse her demand and extended her our packet.
We spent the best part of an hour together, vouching the safe arrival of that day`s sun. Clad in nothing more than a t-shirt, where rips and holes amounted to more than the actual material did, the conversation was laconic. We learnt that her family was from Athens, but she lived here on the beach full time, her reason for shunning society and beach bumming, was vague. It seemed she chose this, because she could.
Modesty seemed to be an unknown concept to her, as she displayed her all, carelessly. From a woman` s point of view, my curiosity grappled with courtesy regarding not only where to look as we chatted, but also to the obvious bind of how she coped with her monthlies.
She as good as plucked cigarette packets from our hands, turned on her heel and disappeared back through the bush, leaving us wondering if the encounter had been real.
Without doubt, Crete is the perfect place to disappear, get off the roundabout and go native. At least for a while.
In the event that a month should pass with no new posts, don`t be alarmed, it could be that I`m trying it for myself!
Gracious thanks to Jan Drury