Skier

After the figures of a pilgrim (heel-sole) and a tightrope walker, here we have the figure of a skier, also from Gidaki Beach, that cold and yet beautiful beach on the east side of Ithaca, overlooking the mainland, with ferries and the odd cargo ship passing down the strait. The waters turquoise blue, the stones like ink drawings, and we swim round and round the buoy. Meanwhile, this skier is flying through the air, bouncing off the snow, taking advantage of the winter conditions to leap down the slope, in joy, in confidence, his mind on the present, the glistening surface, the hidden stones, and also on what awaits around the corner, the unseen, the treacherous, but gliding on his skis, if he can just keep his balance…

 

Meanwhile, in language, the Greek word for the underworld, used as a kind of synonym of hell, the place where the souls of the damned must go, is Hades. Isn’t it strange that the letters of this word rearranged should spell “shade”, since this is precisely the abode of the shades, those without bodies, the ones Odysseus meets in his visit to the underworld in Book XI of the Odyssey, who will only speak the truth once they have tasted of the drink offering? Even stranger, perhaps, is that a step in the alphabet will connect “Hades” and “death” (s-t). We do not know where Hades is, but it is meant to be an underworld – under the world – and by another alphabetical pair, r-s, and the phonetic pair d-t we will find “Hades” in “earth” also.

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