Quotes from the Masters: Ovid
We had to go to Nepenthe. It was mentioned in every Pacific Coast guide-book I had, and it was highly recommended by a friend. It was in the area of Big Sur, so we made it our lunchtime destination.
We began our day with an immensely satisfying breakfast of French pastries, croissants (and cappuccinos for my eldest and me) at the Paris Bakery in Monterey, spent a few hours at the Monterey Aquarium, then loaded into our car and made our way to California’s Hwy 1, heading for Nepenthe.
The ride was spectacular.
We stopped often to capture the scenery on film, (my husband snapped these orange flowers),
and still, the photos do not do it justice.
Finally we arrived at the restaurant, marked by layers of parking lots that were filled with cars. This place was no secret. We climbed flights of wooden and stone stairs that worked their way through the leafy vegetation and led to the top of the slope, where the trees gave way to a large patio and the California sky.
The restaurant had an ethereal quality; there were bleacher style rows of stone benches carved into the wall, where you could lean against pillows that were thrown along the rocks and drink a beer while you drank in the sunshine and the view and waited for your table. It was the ultimate in California cool.
A long wooden bar facing the view served as a table and optimized the dining experience.
We wandered, enjoying the scenery and taking photos.
I walked to the “Phoenix” snack bar, a level below, and found a menu that described a brief history of the place and explained that Nepenthe is a Greek word for “No worries.” I was pretty excited to know that the word was Greek, because that gave it enough of a link for me to use it in this European-themed blog (I only need a thin tether of a connection).
Certainly, worries could waft freely away in these surroundings.
While working on this post, I googled nepenthe, hoping to find a good picture of the restaurant. And I found that, according to Wikipedia, nepenthe means, “that which chases away sorrow,” and was probably a type of anti-depressant drug used by the ancients. That was an interesting twist, spinning the meaning of the word into something not quite so hakuna matata, not quite so Bobby McFerrin, but something along the lines of a natural Zoloft– a salve for our troubled minds.
This nepenthe revelation got me to thinking (because that’s what I do). It got me to thinking about our human condition. Our world is full of worry—of sorrow and heartache and pain. And how do we deal with that?
Sometimes, we need to be engulfed in something bigger than ourselves.
We seek consolation in the glory of God’s creation, we seek refuge in the comfort of a friend’s embrace, and we seek peace in the depth of our prayers.
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
“Quotes from the Masters” is my weekly (if I can manage it) blogging challenge. I invite you to use the quote as an inspiration for your own post and interpret it as you like, using a photograph, a story, a reflection, a poem, a song–whatever! If you would like to, please title this one, “Quotes from the Masters: Ovid” and please add the link to this page on your post. I’d be delighted to see a link to your post on the comments section of this page, too.
- Driving highway 1 – California’s Pacific Coast Highway (channelvoyager.com)
- Southward bound on the California Coast… (gourmetstationblog.typepad.com)
- The Week in Books: Welcome back, Ovid – for English poets, you always were the champion (independent.co.uk)