Les Calanques – Ariadne and the infinite sea

My middle day in Marseille starts rough, feeling scattered and not eating enough. But olives, dates, and baguette from the street market and boulangerie will have to do, as I’m on a mission for Les Calanques by afternoon. 

I take my new dress and scarf with the food and head out with my host as he offers me a ride. White cliffs over blue water, he describes, as the sea appears beside us and the city ends, the Cure playing on the car stereo “staring at the sea, staring at the sand…” and then he lets me out at a rocky point, this is it.

The sun is very bright, the sea and rocks infinite. Here is the beginning of Les Calanques, limestone cliffs over the sea with inlets of different shapes and characters. 

One of the Nazi bunkers

On these rocks, alone, i feel strange, windblown, yet at home. Red poppies and chamomile in bloom dot the white cliffside in small stands, as do abandoned bunkers used by Nazis during World War II.  Below, a tour boat enters the calanque beside the mountainous Ile Maire, i feel tiny and detatched, as i have left Marseille in 2017 for a different time and space.  

Your winding winds did sow
All that is my own
Where land and water meet
Where on my soul
I sit upon my bed
Your ways have led me to bleed

He who knows may pass on
The word unknown
And meet me on the desertshore
Meet me on the desertshore” 

Nico, “All that is my own”, 1970

A tour boat passes between Ile Maire and Cap Croisette

On these beds of rock and wildflowers, Ariadne wakes in a flowing black dress and citrine scarf, Ariadne on Naxos, abandoned by Theseus…waiting for Dionysus. 

Ariadne waking at Naxos

The dress rips and i pin it with a Lou Zeldis mirror. Meditation mixes with frustration as priestess Ariadne looks for her heroic obsession, but this is her chance to reconnect with the gods. 

The clouds roll in, softly, forcefully, altering this scene of wild beauty, a ritual dance in which i, Ariadne, am the only dancer.

Dancing in the ruins of the Blockhaus, aka Fort Napoleon

Bus 20 leaves Callelongue for Marseille as late as 7 something, and i run down the steep hill to make the last bus. My host  and his friends are sitting on a beach near the park entrance,  where the 20 bus line transfers to the 19.

And here, we drink excellent Luberon wine, a gift from my Dionysus, while watching the sun through pale grey clouds merge with the infinite sea.  Oh god of wine and the wild dance, “meet me on the Desertshore.”

Mundane view of the entrance to Les Calanques

Music soundtracks

About the Luberon wines http://www.rhone-wines.com/en/appellation/luberon
Arianna, 10 April 2017


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