I don’t know it’s still just the beginning, but there is definitely a new routine of no routine.
30 days and counting of nonstop spontaneous exploration of new places and I’m loving every scary minute of it. But today is different.
A brief stop in Monaco brings this “no” routine to a halt. As I arrive, I realize nothing here naturally makes me want to pick up the camera. Nothing here feels like it wants to be explored. My camera stays by my side as I wander around with wonder.
Monaco is an incredibly wealthy, densely populated, tiny city and country. It sits on a C-shaped mountain ridge tucked into a tiny corner of Northern France.
Outlined by the sun-kissed coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, many visitors find Monaco to be beautiful. But for me, it is bittersweet.
This place feels so. so. perfectly inside out. It’s quite strange.
The cascading city pokes out of the mountainside like legos tumbling into the water below. The shiny mega yachts fill a tiny harbor-like play toys too big for the bathtub. From anywhere I stand, I can see it all. Yet, there is nothing to see. It’s so eerily quiet yet so obvious and loud. So crisp and clean, yet hazy and unkempt.
The only real beauty I see is the water in between it all. I realize all I want is to feel connected to something. All I want is to discover real, raw stories that make this place feel real and raw. But I don’t know if that exists here. So I continue to wander around, my hand a little tighter around the camera.
I have no idea how close I really am. I don’t know that it’s all around me, always.
As I wander around the castle grounds I feel so tiny in this massive space. I start to see it, just beyond the trees. The long stone wall outlining it all. I run to it and it grows taller. I reach up to grip the hot thick rock and push up to my tippy toes.
My eyes blink open wide with wonder. In this instant, my whole world changes. No longer am I in a tiny condensed city that feels fake and full of nonsense. No.
Now, I see only bright blue skies diving into even deeper blue water. Then, I hear the soft crashing waves engulfing the rocks below. Deep down, I know I have
found the edge. I have found that connection again. How do I hold on to this feeling?
Now that I’m here. I know all I have to do is leap.
But then again. “Why leave when this space is so comfortable and safe?” “Soon it will it be too dark to see anyway. Don’t go. Just stay.” Leaves crunching under each step I take, the fear to walk further begins to fade. As darkness descends, the light moves faster, fighting for the last bit of space between. Time stands still again and I begin to see the path illuminate beneath my feet. Now the warmth of the fire gone and no longer am I comforted by her. Yet not far from this fear. I sense a bright opening beyond the trees. And I know at this moment, I’ve lit the path that will show it to me, in time.
Danielle Werner, 2015
A visual, written, and recorded story.