The plain gives way to natural rock gardens dotted with delicate plants and stunted ferns.
Soon you are on an old path that leads you through ancient trees. The sunlight casts a dim light through the abundance of branches that form a forest vault overhead.
The air is still, and the forest is alive with the sound of birds.
An aroma from one of the trees in the forest evokes memories from your childhood.
You arrive at a long, low ruined wall covered with moss. In places, orange poppies push up through cracked places in the foundation.
You see a small dark coloured gate in the wall. The handle of the gate is worn but still intact.
You gently push open the gate.
Inside is a wild garden which looks as if it has been uncultivated for many years. Climbing roses in bloom and twisted branches of wisteria wrestle with each other and tumble over the wall.
In the middle of the garden are the remnants of a stone fountain crumbling from years of neglect.
An overgrown cobbled path circles the fountain. It leads to what seems to be a tumbledown house with tall windows that are covered with barricaded and broken Venetian blinds.
You find a decrepit door and hesitate for a few minutes. You push the door lightly with your finger. It starts to open with a quiet movement which makes the opening wider. You push the door harder.
A rusty hinge creaks and the door opens into a vast hallway of carved ornamental wooden panels. A lantern made of twisted bronze and silver filigree hangs from the rafters of the ceiling. The room is not a ruin but a cathedral of the past.
An abundance of English ivy seems to be binding the walls and the roof together, and dry leaves litter the marble floor.
Motes of dust shift and spin in the flakes of sunlight filtering through the broken blinds. Some pigeons are roosting somewhere in the rafters of the roof.
The people have long since departed, but you can imagine how they must have enjoyed spending time here.
Over time the artistry and craftsmanship of the room have merged and is being reclaimed by nature.
You decide to go back into the garden.
Outside once more in the sunlight, you follow an overgrown gravel path through a boxwood alley that leads to another smaller garden with wild, dense uncultivated shrubbery and forget-me-nots.
You discover a marble bench that you lie down on. The combination of the ambience of this forgotten place, the scents from the garden, the birdsong, and the low afternoon sunlight have a hypnotic affect. You feel drowsy. You close your eyes and slowly drift off into a deep, deep sleep.
The horse is not a horse, but rather a sturdy pony with a thick flowing copper-coloured mane and tail and a coat the colour of nutmeg.
The eyes of the pony are almond-shaped and deep-set with an expression that says "trust me".
You stroke the horse's head with your hand and notice the horse has a marking like a crescent-shaped moon on her forehead. The horse pushes her muzzle gently against your arm like a gesture of kindness.
You climb comfortably on her, and you take off along a broad path that traverses straight across a valley enclosed by jagged peaks, glaciers and dormant volcanoes.
A herd of wild grey horses in a nearby field are surprised by your presence toss their heads around and gallop away, leaving behind a cloud of dust.
At first, you feel a sense of trepidation because the stride is lively, quick. You are moving too fast. Then you allow yourself to relax, and before long, you experience the power of flight without wings.
The feeling evolves, you forget where your body ends and where the horse begins. You are merged together bonded by trust and honesty.
You arrive at a wide, shallow creek. The bottom is covered with large smooth rocks, but your horse only slows down to cross without a stumble. The water that splashes on your face feels cold and refreshing.
The lowlands shift into fields of wild lupine and grasses that are high enough to reach the soles of your boots. When you look down at your feet, they seem to be floating above the purple and white clouds of flowers.
The path is totally obscured by the vegetation, but the pony knows precisely where to tred.
The muffled hoof beats create a hypnotic tempo in the quiet, solitary landscape.
The mountains, the glacier, the river and the vast expanse of wildflowers are behind you. In front of you is a desolate windswept volcanic plain. The landscape could be another planet with no visual reference other than the grey sky and the black dirt.
The pace increases. You look down and see dust exploding from the horse's hooves. It looks like smoke. You hang on enjoying the wind on your face. And now the soft smell of the sea which appears to be hovering behind the dunes in the distance.
The sand becomes softer and deeper the nearer you get to the sea. It is difficult for the horse to walk through. You get off the horse and walk together slowly along the beach.
The grey sea breaks gently on the black beach leaving behind a dramatic line of white foam. A haze rests on the shore, then runs out in vanishing flatness. The sea and sky appear welded together without a joint.
As you walk on the beach, you notice the bleached jawbone of a whale, driftwood and a flock of seagulls who watch you and don't make a sound.
You pause and sit down. You listen to the soft sound of the surf. The horse breathes softly content to be here with you. You feel very peaceful and relaxed.
You have heard seals frequent the shores here. You decide to stay for a while and watch. Maybe you will see one, or perhaps even a whale.
You are rowing a boat through an archipelago of small islands. Some of are little more than oversized rocks with a few trees clinging to them.
It's late in the afternoon, and the sky is a luminous blue. The oars and the pulse of the water gently move the boat.
You steer to a larger island of pumice coloured crumpled mountains. Folds of pine trees and the odd cypress tree shelter in the opaque shadows of the hillsides.
As you near the island, you gaze over the edge of the boat. The water is clear, like glass. Far below you can see patches of pale rock scarred black by sea urchins. A shoal of sardines skim up and shimmer under the surface of the water.
You reach the shore — the translucent blue sea laps on the beach, which is a mixture of coarse white sand and broken seashells.
As you pull the boat up on the shore, you can hear the island vibrating with the sound of cicadas.
You begin walking on a stony meandering path that has been trampled by goat hooves. Grasshoppers and locusts whir away from you as you walk. The ancient dust covers your feet.
A trail meanders through a small grove of Mediterranean pines. The pine needles resemble feathers.
And there you are in a field of thyme and other wild plants. You pick some and rub them together in the palm of your hands. They make them smell like sage and mint.
Closeby you hear the drowsy tinkling of goat bells.
In a shallow hollow, some goats are asleep in the shade of an old twisted olive tree. As you pass by, one of them stares at you with vacant yellow eyes.
You arrive at a clearing where ruins of broken marble columns and other rocks split like dice are lying in pieces on the ground. At one time this place was some sort of amphitheatre.
In your mind, you imagine all the spirits who must have gathered here in ancient times.
You walk across the amphitheatre and sit down on the side of a broken column. The cicadas abruptly stop, and it is absolutely quiet. You breathe in the peace and what feels like a sacred kind of solitude. From here, you can clearly look down at the sea which is crystal clear azure, turquoise, emerald, viridian and in spots lapis lazuli.
The sun is beginning to float down on the mountains, and the sea glitters lazily at the front of their smoky shadows.
It is time for you to go now. Slowly you turn around and start walking back down the path.
You're walking in a secluded paradise. Birdsong fills the air, and when you breathe in, you inhale a delicate scent of flowers. In places, your path is littered with bright red fallen petals.
The sun filters through the interlacing branches of the trees overhead throwing two-dimensional patterns of light and shade all around.
Clouds of azure butterflies hover just above the jungle vegetation.
You arrive at a fork in the trail. You decide to take the smaller path that leads to the right.
The path reaches a rock stairway which descends gently down into a cave.
At the bottom of the stairs, is a subterranean grotto with a large pool that has been carved out and filled up by years and years of rainwater. The pool is surrounded with smooth paving stones that are several feet wide.
Here it is twilight, with straight flares of light coming in through a round hole in the cavern roof.
The water in the pool is deep and glows with a fluorescent inner light resembling molten aquamarine glass.
Elsewhere in the corners of the cavern, there is a kind of moonlight in the water.
The pool has different submerged levels of jutting rock surfaces which successively change to an increasingly darker blue leading to what seems like unfathomable depths.
You decide to take some clothes off and go for a swim. You walk over to the edge and plunge in. The water feels colder than you expected, but it is refreshing. After a while, your body acclimates. The water tastes pure and sweet.
You float, suspended in the crystal clear water.
As you are floating, you notice the stalactites surrounding you. They hang like icicles from the cave's ceiling. Stalagmites also reach upwards from the cavern floor. They are polished and rounded. Some are fused together like pillars you might see in a temple.
From the vault hang long thin trails of vegetation, with drops of water gently trickling into the pool.
Clumps of green moss of every shade and white flowering lianas cling to some regions of the rock.
When you get out of the water, you are entirely relaxed.
You sit down and lean back on an old worn rock. The swim in the pool has made you feel relaxed. You close your eyes and breathe in. Breathe out. And then you fall into a deep, deep sleep.
〰️ Clara 〰️
I am bringing my favourite outside experiences and imaginings to create visualizations that encourage peace and relaxation.