Thursday, February 17, 2011

abandoned picnic



last november i was driving along an isolated stretch of the greek coast when i saw some objects left on a bluff overlooking the sea. i got out to investigate, and saw this strange assemblage of items --- i mean, why the bouquet of flowers? a boulder, holding down some cardboard. a small board, like a chess set, making a metal feta container into a table. the beers positioned elegantly on top, unopened.

and the small candle. unlit. 

it was as if someone had planned a picnic, then - all of a sudden - abandoned it, as though an alien abduction had occurred. 



greece is a place of mystery, and some things are not meant to be solved. being a romantic at heart, i don't see this as discarded trash. 

no. 

i'd rather see it my own way, imagining the possibilities: 
was it a picnic, abandoned mid-bite - or not even started? an attempt at conceptual art? or could it be a shrine to unrequited love..... someone who had wished for a chance to recline in the grass with their intended and relish a view of the sea, but for some unforeseen reason, would never be able?




most likely, a motorcycle careened off the road here. some teenage boy taking a hairpin turn too fast. spinning out of control, hitting a rock. it happens so often here. usually you find one of these erected at such spots.
filled with icons of saints, candles, bottles of oil and other offerings or odd items -- i've peered into many and seen even cigarettes, coke bottles. 



perhaps this accident scene is fresh. too new. not enough time has passed to erect a proper shrine. 


but i prefer the abandoned picnic theory.

we either see mystery or we don't. 

i see it everywhere.

36 comments:

  1. What a delightful mystery! It sounds like a chapter from our beloved John Fowles.....

    How perfect that YOU happened upon it.....and yes, being a fellow-romantic, I believe it is a tribute to a lost love....

    No matter, it is haunting....and memorable.

    Sending you a big hug!

    Love,

    ♥ Robin ♥

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  2. There was a naked couple just hiding behind the bushes and waiting the moment you would stop making photos and leave.

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  3. But why had they abandoned the picnic so elegantly? Or perhaps the satisfying symmetry was just your artistic camera angle ...

    I know that whenever I've cut loose on a picnic - very rarely it must be said - the detritus was unfilmably messy.

    I like the idea of a kind of shrine, myself ...

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  4. a mistery like in Aghata Christie's books, indeed:)

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  5. We may search the heavens, the underworld, the worlds of myth and legend, the outer reaches of our imaginations but we will never, ever find a logical reason for an unopened beer...

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  6. That is why Hades kidnapped you, you bring romance into his life.

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  7. What a mysterious scene... Picnic interrupted I think or one that was planned and the parties did not make it to this spot... Perhaps, it is a tribute to unrequieted love or a longing to return to a special place... As another romantic, I love the mystery and unanswered questions.

    Glad you caught this one, Amanda!

    Bises,
    Genie

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  8. LOVE this post, and LOVE the comments!

    This scene is something we might set up in remembrance of our lost, though not unrequited, love.

    I see an elderly woman making the trek on the arm of her handsome adult son, showing him the spot where she and his father first fell in love.

    He had brought flowers for. she brought his favorite beer. They played chess overlooking the ocean...the son wept.

    What good is life if you can't see the mystery?

    (GREAT photos, as usual...good to see you!)

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  9. *Sorry for the typos...
    "He had brought flowers for HER. She brought his favorite beer."

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  10. All things are fodder for stories! I love your take on this (and the stunning photograph). I especially love mysteries. And the comments here. If we look around us, we'll never run out of ideas for stories!!
    Ann Best, Author @ Long Journey Home

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  11. Mystery? perhaps. My first thought; a salute to a stanger who had not been fortunate enough to join in "the picnic"...

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  12. A picnic for a loved one passed on instead of a shrine?????

    Remembrance of a special day??

    Hhmmmmmmmmmmm

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  13. Why me too. I see mystery all the time. I can't seem to get away from it. And if no mystery exists - I make it up.

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  14. It's definitely an abandoned picnic. They probably just went home to get the olives. :)

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  15. you sense the mystery and then you do not disturb it. i've always liked the "yes virginia there is a santa claus" editorial. it talks about tearing apart a rattle to determine what makes the noise. it's easy to "see" you don't tear apart the rattle.

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  16. I think the couple were making violent love in the nearby foliage.

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  17. ha! i was thinking the same thing as tess.

    i love your imagination and your romantic nature.

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  18. Well, whatever it is, it's been given very thorough treatment here.

    Part of the mystery of blogging, I guess.

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  19. I think it is plain... it is an offering to the gods of beer and feta cheese, to Neptune of the sea, to Bacchus and whatever other deities may have been sollicited here, an intervention may have been needed in someone's love life...

    I hope it was not as you suspect a vehicle that went over the edge there and onto the rocks or into the water below.

    And I second the first comment above, it could have been a mysterious character from Fowles' Magus leaving signs to be interpreted... Are you a Fowles fan by any chance ?

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  20. robin - i never thought of that -- but why not?? this is fowles country, after all.......

    xxx
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    anita - oh my gosh -- never thought of that one, either! how embarrassing ;-)

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    robert - i wish i could say it was my camera angle, but that was what was so intriguing about the whole thing. it looked like a stage setting.

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    ola - agatha christie -- great idea! and the title could be 'murder on the pelopponese' ;-)

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    lorenzo -- -hahaha!! the open beer is THE biggest mystery!

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  21. ah yoli -- thank you, kindred spirit ;-)

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    genie -- i like that -- picnic interrupted -- could be a great novel title!

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    jo - wow. i simply love that version of the story. you've a fantastic imagination!!

    and yes -- i am completely enjoying everyone's fantastic ideas about this little roadside mystery -- so many stories woven from this photo ~

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    ann - ditto!.i love everyone's comments and the endless capacity we have for making stories xo

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    glenn - a salute to a stranger who didn't make it?
    yes, and perhaps that someone is prepared to wait an eternity.

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  22. Probably a makeshift shrine but who knows? Perhaps two lovers who had an argument over who should drink which beer and they ended up fighting and falling to their deaths?

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  23. janet - yes --

    or someone playing a trick on innocent passersby ;0

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    loree - indeed. one of humankind's greatest capacities -- if no mystery 'exists' then we make it up. as an old archaeologist once said, 'man makes himself' .......or substitute 'woman' and ' herself', as it were. ;-)

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    bee - true, no olives were present!

    and what is a greek picnic without olives?

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    sherry - i wouldn't want to disturb this - touching it, like touching an actual shrine, would seem sacrilege. tearing apart the rattle indeed --- what a metaphor. but now i'm thinking of all the babies who did and then grew up to become scientists ;-)

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    tess - yes. you and anita had the same idea! yet i didn't see any bushes shaking violently......if so, they must have been the quiet type ;-)

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  24. lori - thank you my dear♡

    (btw my dad decided to drive up with us to slo --am still hoping we can zip down either sat or sun -- will give a call)

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    miss sadie - yes this mystery has been given full treatment here - what entertaining and myriad response from these lovely readers. i am honored. and inspired.

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    owen - a resounding yes! the first commenter, robin, and i attended the annual willow ball last year as june and july, we are such big fans --

    john fowles' the magus is my favorite book of all time. it's the perfect storm of everything i love in a story.

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  25. dd-- missed you, squeezed in there while i was responding to comments-- so sorry!!

    what a version -- an argument over a beer and then a fall to their deaths? but such disagreements have occurred over lesser things, like parking spots....

    yet, one of those beers IS a heineken, so..... ;-)

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  26. My first thought was that there was to be a meeting and one didn't show... the abandoned picnic left just in case the person eventually visited the spot. Unrequited love, yes, I see it as unrequited love. :-)

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  27. Sadly, I see these sort of shrines here in Cyprus.

    Abandoned picnic? Yes, I prefer that image!

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  28. I'm hoping it was an introduction, or perhaps the other person needed a ride, had broken down along the way. Sadly though, I fear it was tragedy.

    xo
    erin

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  29. I think its wonderful that you stopped and shared this mystery with us.One of those things we will never know,but one cant help but daydream a bit about the possibilities..I couldnt help but create the story as I read your post..A view shared by two,long long ago,teenagers,they sat and ate and enjoyed the treats before them.Sadly they were seperated,one family had moved away,but they wrote letters and kept in touch,still feeling the bond that they shared so long ago,through the years,telling eachother that one day,perhaps very soon,they would see eachother again.But until then they would honor eachother and the memory of the time they spent together.He stayed behind,but continues to tell her..I have never forgotten you..Nor I you,she tells him.One day we will be together again.


    Thank you sweet Amanda for taking me away today..daydreaming in the afternoon,even for a little while is a joy.Blessings,Cat

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  30. I like all those scenarios!

    What a fun scene to contemplate.

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  31. It looks that the items are obvious why they are brought there! No mystery!

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  32. I think that someone set up this picnic to lure a goddess to the place. He got his wish, and they were in the throe's of passion when suddenly her God-father thundered onto the scene, and blasted them so hard that they (entwined as they were) turned into the rock.

    My mom always said "no mystery, no charm". I'm always looking for mystery.

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  33. the post itself and then the comments tossed all these possibilities at me!

    at first i thought of passionate sex somewhere near by. if it were me i would have muffled my moans as soon as i heard you approach :)

    and then i thought of tragedy. unrequited love makes me cry, even when i'm not involved and even when i just imagine it.

    so amanda, what a wonder.ful post and look at all these great folks and friends who chimed in with their own version of show and tell


    kj

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  34. nancy -- the unrequited love scenario was my favorite as well ;-)

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    glynis -- i imagine those shrines are all over cyprus as well.

    btw love your new photo!!

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    erin -- sadly, i have a feeling there is tragedy involved in this as well~

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    cat -- i simply love your daydream -- elaborating so thoughtfully on yet another possible scenario of love lost and possibly yet found again. thank you for this emotional shortshort story -- i loved it!!

    xxx

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    sister -- you MUST drive by this spot - just out of town on the road from Poulithra to Leonidio - and see if it's still there. if so please take another foto to see if anything has changed!

    xxx

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    philip - why do you say it's obvious? is it a shrine to someone? please share!

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    mim - now that's the winning scenario for sure - there's no topping that one. gods blasting lovers into stone -- how completely greek. thanks for sharing this wonderful story!!

    your mom is right -no mystery, no charm- i'm going to use that for my new motto♡
    xxx

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    kj - haha -- yet another passionate love scenario!!

    yes, what a grand group of commenters. i have thoroughly enjoyed each and every single one of them --- what an unexpected but welcome surprise of responses to this curious roadside observation ;-)

    xxx

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  35. I popped over to leave a comment on your intriguing post about snakes and their association with the Divine Feminine. Thanks for the new perspective. I'll look at snakes quite differently now.

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  36. Amanda, catching up on your blog today (so beautiful it is), I saw your post on the arrangement of flowers, beer bottles and a feta tin on the side of the road between Poulithra and Plaka. I know the story, and can share it with you, if you wish. But if you prefer to keep the myster alive, I can keep it to myself... I hope you are well, dear one! Much love, Alexia.

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