June 23, 2004

Summer with its changes

Summer has brought changes with it. At the end of the valley reclines a one-room stone cottage, and that is where I make my home now. A table, a desk, a typewriter; bed, toilet, marble sink and umpteen icons of Christ and the Virgin--that is practically all there is. My company: ants, midges, a tortoise in the bushes beneath the window. Silence but for the cicada songs, growing louder with each hotter day; and wind through the olive trees; and maybe the sea, but only just.

The light here is so strong, the colors rarefied. On the window-sill beside my desk, someone has put a ceramic dish filled with Russian Easter eggs painted in intricate patterns. Above and a bit to the side hangs a silver bowl whose English name I do not know, used to carry oil lamps and ornamented on all four sides with six-winged cherubs. Through the window the sun's setting rays brush the face of a slope of burnished grasses and three trees in a neat row; the first is an olive but the other two are unknown to me, though the second is short and wiry with very few leaves, and the third is taller and very perfect to my eyes, a tree of few brush-strokes like in a Japanese watercolor. The sky above is not blue exactly, and much closer to white, an intense sky. An empty clothesline hangs between two trees, there is a stump over there, and a thorny bush, and huge pines high on the hill undulating from the restless air.

This part of Greece has grown quiet, a calm before the chaos of deep summer. On the road to Limni one can see a few bathers, and the sea is certainly ripe for swimming in, smooth, glinting, a window onto its bed. Soon the strand will be fully overtaken, and mankind in its extremes will be desperate to reconnect with whatever that water is to all of us.

Summer, alone in the stone cottage. That signifies heat, salt, a superabundance of nakedness from swims and four daily showers--and so a discontentment, a scattered eros, the season's smoldering lust.

Posted by djsmall at June 23, 2004 07:30 PM