It is of little wonder that the Greeks cross themselves so often. With tree-covered mountains conversing with deep valleys and streams that gurgle their way to the sea, one half expects God to step down from the clouds to say hello. Delphi is Aslan country, and I imagine the Great Lion leaping over mountains with an ease that the wheezing, groaning tour coaches can only eye with jealousy. I often stop and think of Edward Lear, walking through the same terrain, but without the benefit of modern amenities. Epileptic, near-sighted and so afflicted by depression, Lear felt at his best when he was on the move. Delphi is a landscape painter’s paradise, each change of the light illuminating unnoticed detail. I imagine he would have been in heaven here.
As rewarding as my first two weeks in Greece had been, it was in Delphi that I finally ‘found myself’, the one person I am agonisingly stuck with for the duration of my travels. I am no Alexander the Great, but I can understand why people who come to Delphi leave with a clearer sense of the future mapped out (however cryptically by the pythia) before them. There is clarity in the shadow of Parnassus.
The next morning I left that calm behind for the island run into Turkey, praying that I could take some of it with me.