Plotinus, the third century philosopher sought solitude to think. He left Rome for the Sicilian countryside. 2,000 years later, I’m travelling in his footsteps. Driving through fragrant Sicilian vineyards, date palms and gently swaying olive groves, I reach Selinunte— a once flourishing Greek city on the southern coast of Sicily, but now whispering through imposing ruins. Breezing past the ticket counter uninhabited by any tourist I stride into the vast desolate landscape that opens up in front of me. At the edge of the view, in isolated faded glory, shimmering through the dust of time, stands the Temple of Hera. As I walk the arid landscape tapestry comprising rock, wild shrubs, the occasional blooming oleander and a myriad of ancient ruined walls, the temple speaks to me through luring silence. The only sound accompanying my footsteps is the sound of crickets. Standing in front of the temple, I feel dwarfed by history and ancient Greek accomplishments. The roar of silence is so loud that it floods my ears with sounds of Greek rituals as they must have once played out in the temple. As I walk between the colossal columns, I hear the raging philosophical debates that must have echoed in the temple’s grand hall. I spend much time in solitude here reading Plotinus’ work. Time drifts. Occasionally I raise my head from ancient scriptures and marvel at my luck at being the only visitor to be embraced by this architectural jewel. The sun begins it slow descent into the emerald green Mediterranean and the dun coloured columns soak in the last lustrous golden light. I leave, knowing well that I will return.
To read more articles from the November Bookazine, grab your copy here.
Words Moin Mir