Christina Andreou – Samloglou / Χριστίνα Ανδρέου – Σαμλόγλου
October 1st, 1924 – January 18th, 2015
my beloved mother, a career woman, a dentist, a mother of two, a grand-mother, an aunt, a sister, a wife, a friend –
a hard-working woman, a woman of many talents,
who like a lot of women what she wanted the most but would not admit,
was to be loved tenderly and appreciated for who she was.
Long walks along the Thames in Surrey, in the Richmond and Kingston area of British landscape from September 2015 to the early spring of 2017 have provided the inspiration for this post.
Looking back it has been my period of silence, mourning and reconnecting the dots to go ahead …
Winter in its relentless bareness reveals the dark branches where before was foliage: follow with the gaze their numerous intersections, the splitting into crossroads leading to lines that get narrower and narrower; focus closely: some branches ravel into knots, others split abruptly.
It seems like a play of discovering the hidden image, a metaphor of seeing anew. It is a game of speculation about the future, for the unfolding of a new dimension of possibilities. It is a play of re-imagining a new perspective that for long has remained covered under the leaves.
A week-end of late November the leaves, having taken their time – more than two months – to turn from green into red and (reluctantly) into yellow, were brought down all at once; a strong bust of wind swirled around, brushing off the last of them that were still insisting to dry out up on the trees, in full visibility, trembling at the edge of disappearance.
So, windows which were concealed behind the foliage became visible partly due to the recession of the green, partly because the lamps were turned on before four o’clock, shedding their yellowish murmurs against a dim opalescence.
Ιn February days are getting longer again burning out behind crocheted tree-lines; sunset can be described from anaemic to deep purple.
It is impossible to escape observation if one indulges regularly in long walks. Walks bring reveries. Reveries bear thoughts.
Can we compare winter with its loss of foliage and the incurring revelations to the dark ages we experience? During the preceding decades were the bare facts of reality concealed and embellished behind a frivolous, a superficial abundance? How could we have foreseen what was coming, the long uncertain winter?
Images are supposed to reveal truths; the photojournalist, the cameraman is out there, we are all out there with our mobiles witnessing all the time what is happening.
Can we interpret what we witness?
The twitter transmits in the simplest language in max 140 characters; the message must be simple, it is meant to be understood by everyone. Communication in the speed of twitter pretends there is not hierarchy, no barriers, no intermediaries; the presidents tweet and anybody with an account has immediate access.
Words sound simple and spontaneous; they are carefully chosen to make impressions, to manipulate, to construct new realities.
More than any other time we do not need more information, we need more interpretation.
We need to expand the horizon of our perception and thought, therefore we need more words.
We need more time; it takes time to look up at the dictionary and search for the meaning that better fits the specific context. It takes time to infer and deduce.
We need time to ponder, to consider alternatives, to navigate through easy generalizations and aphorisms. It takes time to decline, to accept, to see through a labyrinth of possibilities and ephemeral truths.
A long rhythmic walk in nature imposes its own mental state; it is an exercise to take in, to consider, to take a distance – more useful if one is emotionally charged, in anger, in agony.
Walking is not a solitary activity. One may experience many encounters while walking; an ever growing sense of companionship arises in the soul. An occasional hello, a nod, a smile, an unexpected exchange brings a calming reassurance; you are not alone, if you fall someone will pick you up.
It is more likely that a stranger will pick you up, or an animal will come to your rescue in nature than in the urban landscape.
‘In loving memory’ – ‘To X who loved this river’
The engraved benches summon names of people who have been walking here and perhaps keep walking next to us visible to those who remember them.
The presence of absences is tangible by the continuity of benches and the labels on them; these people have walked here alone, with their dogs, in company.
Names of those unknown to me bring closer my loved ones, and their dates of beginning and end.
Dead have no need for passports; they all enjoy the same country.
After two hours of walking thoughts flee lightly following the vivacity of birds that have returned; an anticipation of a new spring is in the air. All around squirrels reappear jumping and running up the trees. A new harmony synchronizes my senses with my mood.
I pass by the same tree from where my walk has started today.
Looking up it seems like an open palm extended,
waiting to receive a reading for the future,
a caress, a kiss.
- copyright covers photos and texts for this blog