The rock formation known as the Sleepy Dragon stretches along the seashore, from Agios Pavlos to the tip of its tail at Triopetra. This morning I left the hotel room at 7.00am, walked down to the beach, skirted the lapping water, climbed the steep steps onto the dragon’s neck, picked my way round the rocky headland and dropped down onto the next beach.
From there, it’s easy going with one or two short clambers from bay to bay until you get to the taverna at Triopetra. As my legs found their stride, my mind went back twelve years, to the first time I’d taken that route.
I’d noticed her in the distance, a solitary figure beside the sea making salutations to the morning sun. As I drew nearer, I could see that she was naked. She saw me approaching and continued her yoga unabashed. The beach was very narrow at that point and I realised that I could not avoid passing quite close to her. I considered turning round and going back but that in itself would have made an issue of her nakedness. I decided to carry on, with my gaze focused on the path I was taking, neither ignoring her presence nor looking straight at her.
As I got closer, I saw from the corner of my eye just how archetypally beautiful she was: early twenties, I guessed; small regular features; long slender limbs; glistening golden skin; thick blonde hair loosely caught up on top of her head; breasts firm and shapely; buttocks rounded like pebbles smoothed by the sea.
She moved slowly, confident in her lissome beauty. As I walked past, she simply put her hands over her eyes and turned to face the sea to preserve her modesty. I didn’t say anything and I didn’t look back. If she was human, she was a flower in perfect bloom. If divine, then I had been blessed by a vision of Aphrodite and somehow lived to tell the tale.
It was a numinous encounter with the feminine, wondrous and respectful. I’m quite sure that she has never given me a second thought but the memory of that meeting is still so vivid in my mind that I could sense her shimmering presence on the sand, as I have done every time I’ve walked along the beach to Triopetra.
Once seen, never forgotten.