Thursday, May 24, 2012

the Portal at Naxos

The portal at Naxos.  The Portara.  Once on a hill, now an islet connected by a causeway.  You can see it from the town.  It was a cold, early spring day when I went there.

Step through it into Elsewhen.  The parallel worlds that exist alongside our own, every moment splitting off new paths . . .
We travel Elsewhen with our mind, breaking free of Here & Now by an act of will, our consciousness  --  weightless as light  --  flickering unobstructed through the walls of time, willing ourselves  --  if our imagination be strong enough  --  into lost worlds as real to us as any of those that try to restrain us.

A short walk from the port of Naxos, across a low causeway, is a small islet on which sits a trilithon, a tall, stone doorway leading nowhere.  It turned out to be farther than it at first appeared because it was taller than I thought.  Three stone blocks framing an opening six meters high by three-and-a-half wide.  Twenty-some feet tall: not tall for a monumental arch, though with its two straight, flat-sided uprights and flat horizontal it is plainly just a door.
    It is all that remains of the megalomanic building scheme of a 6th Century B.C. tyrant whose plans were interrupted by a war and his temple (to whom it was to be dedicated, other than his own glory, is unclear) was never completed and then sometime in the Middle Ages the occupying Venetians decided they had better use for the stone of the uncompleted building and carried off everything but the monumental doorway, whose 20-ton posts and lintel must have been judged more trouble than they were worth.  So today a twenty-foot tall doorway stands on a hilltop with nothing around it, leading nowhere.
    Or leading wherever you want it to, I suppose.

It was a cold, early spring day when I went there.  A high wind off the water and no one was about.  I have since seen photographs taken on a warm afternoon, the place thick with tourists.  It wasn’t at all the same.

1 comment:

  1. We weren't the first to build a bridge to nowhere, eh? The follies of men are even more pronounced in vain men.