The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Calabria - Coastal view of Albidona (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

Calabria (Italy) – Coastal view of Albidona (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

edited by FdS Editorial Staff

italia“Meanwhile it is good to rest here, immovable but alert, in the breathless hush of noon. Showers of benevolent heat stream down upon this desolation; not the faintest wisp of vapour floats upon the horizon; not a sail, not a ripple, disquiets the waters. The silence can be felt. Slumber is brooding over the things of earth:

Asleep are the peaks of the hills, and the vales,
The promontories, the clefts,
And all the creatures that move upon the black earth…

Such torrid splendour, drenching a land of austerest simplicity, decomposes the mind into corresponding states of primal contentment and resilience. There arises before our phantasy a new perspective of human affairs; a suggestion of well-being wherein the futile complexities and disharmonies of our age shall have no place. To discard these wrappings, to claim kinship with some elemental and robust archetype, lover of earth and sun.

How fair they are, these moments of golden equipoise!

Yes; it is good to be merged awhile into these harshly-vibrant surroundings, into the meridian glow of all things. This noontide is the “heavy” hour of the Greeks, when temples are untrodden by priest or worshipper. Controra they now call it–the ominous hour. Man and beast are fettered in sleep, while spirits walk abroad, as at midnight. Non timebis a timore noctuno: a sagitta volante in die: a negotio perambulante in tenebris: ab incursu et demonio meridiano. The midday demon- that southern haunter of calm blue spaces…

So may some enchantment of kindlier intent have crept over Phaedrus and his friend, at converse in the noontide under the whispering plane-tree. And the genius dwelling about this old headland of the Column is candid and benign.

This corner of Magna Graecia is a severely parsimonious manifestation of nature. Rocks and waters! But these rocks and waters are actualities; the stuff whereof man is made. A landscape so luminous, so resolutely scornful of accessories, hints at brave and simple forms of expression; it brings us to the ground, where we belong; it medicines to the disease of introspection and stimulates a capacity which we are in danger of unlearning amid our morbid hyperborean gloom–the capacity for honest contempt: contempt of that scarecrow of a theory which would have us neglect what is earthly, tangible. What is life well lived but a blithe discarding of primordial husks, of those comfortable intangibilities that lurk about us, waiting for our weak moments?

The sage, that perfect savage, will be the last to withdraw himself from the influence of these radiant realities. He will strive to knit closer the bond, and to devise a more durable and affectionate relationship between himself and them. Let him open his eyes. For a reasonable adjustment lies at his feet. From these brown stones that seam the tranquil Ionian, from this gracious solitude, he can carve out, and bear away into the cheerful din of cities, the rudiments of something clean and veracious and wholly terrestrial–some tonic philosophy that shall foster sunny mischiefs and farewell regret.”

Norman Douglas, Old Calabria – original english text published by Martin Secker, London 1915, work in public domain

The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Coastal view from the hills of Amendolara (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Coastline of Albidona (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Coastline of Albidona (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Coastline of Albidona (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Coastline of Albidona (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Coastline of Albidona (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Maquis and coastal tower of Albidona (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Coastline of Albidona (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Olive grove in Amendolara (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Olive grove in Amendolara (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Coastline of Sibari (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

The southern brightness of the Ionian Sea in the words of Norman Douglas and images by Gianni Termine

Fishing boat near the port of Corigliano Calabro (Cosenza) – Ph. © Gianni Termine

 

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