Letters from the Underworld: A Bell and a Pomegranate

An archaeologist's favorite mysterious places

Ever since I was a child I felt the world was filled with mysterious places. When I lived in Minnesota an abandoned shed in our apple orchard, where I would play and dream, was a mysterious place to me. When I lived in England it was a greenhouse at the back of our property near a thicket of towering rhododendron. To this day it could be a dusty attic filled with trunks, a bank of gunmetal gray clouds pregnant with rain, a rusted gate that leads into a forgotten garden where the voices of the past or the secrets of the present whisper: 

I'm special......come find me. 

I find the mysterious everywhere - in places where most people wouldn't. Oftentimes it is just an impression of how a place affects me, speaks to me and makes me feel. In this series I travel to exotic faraway lands as well as unearth the hidden beauty of settings closer to home to share favorite places I find to be sacred, magical... and mysterious.


At the top of a mountain pass in Greece lies the tiny town of Kosmas. I was traveling with my sister through the region of Arcadia on the Peloponnesian peninsula when we came upon the small village with a main square wrapped around a church and flanked by a series of gigantic ancient plane trees that stood like silent sentinels.

The mists that hung over this town, hugging the mountaintops, made you feel as if the gods themselves were close enough to whisper in your ear. In fact, the god Apollo was worshipped here in ancient times in a temple erected on a hilltop.

We had lunch at a little place in the square. 

I looked down and the tablecloth spelled out the word endless...

As we were dining a storm rolled in over the mountains. Just as we made it back to the car the heavens released a mass of hail.

On the drive back down the mountain we admired the gray green sky - 

of course snapped photos of it as my sister is doing here

trying to capture Poseidon in action throwing his lightning bolts.

When I was in Kosmas I purchased a sheep's bell

and this candle holder in the shape of a pomegranate

....both sit in the window above my desk.

Whenever I want to remember this little town I ring the bell....

.....light the candle 

and all the mystery of Greece comes flowing back.

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