Student Post: John Cappetta
5, December 2011 § 1 Comment
Paros is a small island, and at times it feels it. As an artist especially, we walk around living in our work and our minds. It gets real easy to spend an entire week in the town, making art, interacting with other students and the locals, until all of a sudden Paros feels like this tiny little rock comprised wholly of the little city Parikia. The Friday hikes are the weekly escape. A mental break for sure, they are an opportunity to recreate with all of the other students, to talk with them, as well as spend some quality time with John Pack. More than that, the Pack hikes are a chance to see the island outside of the town, and experience all of her rugged, prickly, life-giving beauty. When I say prickly, I mean, wear pants, you never know when the Byzantine era donkey path will be overgrown with typically Parian spiked shrubbery. When I say life giving I mean a couple things. First, bring a backpack, people lived off of this land for 10,000+ years, we find any herb a salad could want, lemons, olives that are good to eat off the tree, carob, almonds, half of Whole Foods grows here. I also mean life giving in the sense that, for some reason, nobody comes back from a hike and plops down for a 6 hour nap. It’s energizing, the land has a vitality to it.
On one hike, which was particularly full of ruins, fruit, and history, John and Jane took us to the Healing Tree, which for me, represents everything that the Friday Hikes are. This tree is ancient, with huge branches that sag to the ground and others that stretch up 20 meters. It’s a perfect tree to climb, lounge under, sit on, I could entertain myself there for hours. It got its name from a particular student in the past. She was depressed, and knew it before coming. When she got to Paros she decided she couldn’t handle being here, that she needed to go home. John convinced her to wait out the week, which included a hike to this particular tree. She saw the branches, climbed right up, stayed there for hours, and announced that she would stay. Spending time in the tree was a healing exercise for her, and she swore by it. This is what the hikes can do. They can heal you. Not to sound all New Age medicine or anything, but being in nature every Friday, led by John, is good for the soul. The time out there will inspire you and affect your work. They are an ultimate good, and I swear by them.