In this case, Thomas Wolfe is wrong: you can go home again. You have to go home again according to the plane ticket in your name that departs Athens at an ungodly hour on Monday September 13, 2010. I can barely believe that we landed here back in May.
So, 4 and a half months. Athens, Agistri, Aegina, Nafplio, Monemvasia, Epidavros, Larissa, Pelion, Meteora, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Reims, Spetses, Hydra. 15 and change blog entries. Many ferry rides. Probably too many gyros. A suitcase of books, some downloaded television and movies. I finished editing Bats or Swallows and I wrote a very first drafty version of a novel (I did it, I did it!).
In our last few days we’re trying to fit in all our favourite things. So far we’ve returned to the top of Lykavitos Hill at night, bought a drink from the canteen and looked out at the city, all flashing points of light. We had a dinner at the base of the Acropolis, saw the half-crescent moon rise in the sky in the distance. Spent a late afternoon wandering through the Ancient Agora, a seemingly random assortment of ruins and green weeds and dust. Ancient dust. The open air cinema down the street was playing Breakfast at Tiffany‘s, and before the movie started there was a black cat walking up and down the length of the theatre, checking us out. And, we just came back from 3 final days in Agistri. The weather was beautiful. I didn’t want to leave the sea yesterday afternoon, and we sat there until the last possible moment, resting on the rocks and looking out into the water. And hey, to make everything even more full circle: the washing machine in Kypseli broke again.
When we arrived citrus was in season. Our first trip to the Peloponnese wound through acres and acres of orange groves. There were trucks on the side of the road selling bags of them. We bought one, and the plastic bag of bulging fruit scented the car with oranges. At the end of the summer the figs were ready, and I’ve been buying pints of them, eating the seedy deep red and purple fruit with yogurt in the morning or sometimes caramelized in salads or with pork. I get them all to myself because Andrew doesn’t like them. And now pomegranates are starting to appear. Just barely. They’re not quite rosy enough, but I’ve seen them hanging off trees, getting there.
I will miss the view from the top deck of the ferry, swimming in salty, blue water, running down to the bakery to get supplies for breakfast, those evenings we would take Andrew’s film to get developed and kill time by eating a gyro in the nearby square. I will miss our friends here. I will miss huge uninterrupted swathes of time to write. For the first time ever I have a long piece of writing that, although needs months, maybe years, of work, I actually don’t hate. I feel like I’ve cracked a barrier I haven’t been able to in the past, and it was only because I had day after day to sit down and work at it. It’s true what they say about practice. Maybe it doesn’t necessarily makes perfect, but it makes slightly easier.
The next time I update this blog I’ll be in Canada. Soon I’m going to be back in Montreal and I’ll be sitting at my desk at work and I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I’m happy to be coming back for fall. A transitional season. A good time to come home.