I have a perfect marriage of an image and a quote that I have rambled on for a while but didn’t post. This is the photo. The rest will happen as I write. Bear with me.
No man ever wetted clay and then left it, as if there would be bricks by chance and fortune.
—Plutarch, Greek Philosopher
We were walking past the old town in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. We reached a panorama point, surrounded by a few tourists, and women selling manual artwork. There we could see the old structures of the majestic Alhambra palace and fortress complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that was originally built as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications.
This is one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, and the country’s most significant and well-known Islamic architecture, combined with the 16th century and Christian building and gardens.
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As we spent some time shooting some photos, more of the street sellers arrived together, men and women and some kids. It draws my attention that they seemed to be part of a community of hippies and artisans. I don’t know why that surprised me so much; perhaps because I don’t see them in Amsterdam or maybe because it had been a long time since I had seen the same group of people in any other country.
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As I stared at them, my face may have betrayed me, as one of the women looked a bit angrily at me, pointing to my camera, urging me to not make her photo. I wasn’t but I most definitely obliged.
We carried on our walk but those women didn’t leave my mind. I wondered how in today’s day and technological age, there are still people, in the Western world, who say ‘no’ to the conveniences of mainstream life, and to society’s conventions and expectations.
Whilst I was walking, lost in thoughts, we came across a house, exhibiting a clay sculpture behind bars, outside its window. I could finally put all thoughts together in my head.
Looking at this sculpture, it immediately came to my mind the antithesis of those women. This one looked like an imprisoned head of someone who is longing for the freedom she sees in the outside world, in comparison with the choices she made to conform, belong, avoid, and stay in line with what is expected from her.
She has everything one could wish for, but she is not happy. She has been conforming for so long, that she lost contact with her inner wishes, and doesn’t even know anymore what she wants nor what is that she could look for outside her mind’s prison.
What is her biggest fear? To explore a new path or to belong to neither side of the bars? Will she wait to make a choice, like most people, for death, sickness, aging or a traumatic event, hit her head so forcefully till the pain becomes unbearable, and violently throws her outside of the line of conformity?
I hope she doesn’t wait. She may regret that it is too late. She may regret the wasted years.
Why do we all wait so long to simply ‘live’?
Plutarch is right. We need to make bricks and start building ourselves.
If not us, who? If not now, when?
In preparation for Day Fifteen assignment, I would like to ask your ideas for this post. What would like me to write about? I would be grateful for suggestions on the comments section, or, please send me a message via the e-mail that you can find at my contact page. Thank you!