Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea from a dusty red cliff, I felt like I was falling through time. I could be Aegeus, the king of Athens, waiting for my son, Theseus, to return from killing the Minotaur. As I turned to behold the marble temple, I could be the wife of a sailor praying to Poseidon to keep her husband safe.
Instead I was a student standing in a place that exemplified pure history. The temple to Poseidon at Cape Sounion in Greece reminded me that I am a mere pinprick on humanity’s timeline.
The entire day I spent on the beach was not even a blink of time in the eyes of the fallen temple. Playing “Marco Polo” in the salt water. Reading The Iliad on a towel in the land of Agamemnon. Savoring grilled octopus. Though these moments linger like the garlic on my breath from dinner, they are no longer present. What was a reality only a few hours before had become a memory.
As I realized this, it became even more important for me to take a mental snapshot of my surroundings. Below me the teal sea lulled over the jutting earth. In the glow of the falling sun, the water moved like a stop-motion film. I looked again at the pieced-together columns of the temple ruins and took it all in. The aged marble threatened to make me fall through history again. But I felt the warmth of my skin, remembered my own history, and stayed grounded.