“Courage”. he said, and pointed towards the land,
“This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon”.
'The Lotus Eaters' Tennyson
My bamboo brush was loaded with what I had thought to be dark blue, but a broad sweep across the white paper told even my colour challenged eyes that this was really a wine colour. OK, I thought and used the remaining twist of the brush's hairs to draw in an island. A few more dabs of colour, a distant galley and I had stumbled into a page from Homer and his 'wine dark sea'. Ulysses, on his torturous way home from Troy has been storm blown beyond the known bounds of the world and while his crew cowers in fear and trembling he sights land by morning's light, tells them to have courage, there is land to leeward. That of the Lotus Eaters, it turns out and the beginning of a new adventure.
I remember telling Homer's story to an acquaintance some years ago who like the crew was in despair with no obvious passage through her life's travails. Sometimes we all need to turn to face into the future and say to ourselves 'courage', because no matter how faintly it shows itself there is something new on the horizon. No matter how dire things may seem this is not the end but a new dawn, a new beginning.