Greece: Sunlight, Ouzo and Work


FILE - Photo by EUROKINISSI / Hasialis Vaios.

Greece has unique beauty. The brilliant sunlight – that certainly is a part of it - but it’s not only that. Its beauty has many elements, some just indescribable.

And each season has its own beauty.

Like the one we are experiencing now - spring. Flowers have blossomed and spread across the land, especially the poppies with their deep red color that catch the eye and enchant from afar.

And it’s the green of the grass. Juxtaposed with the blue of the sky - it leaves you speechless.

Yes, Greece has many flaws – but her beauty covers and makes up for many of them.

You can sit for hours on a rock and soak up views of the sea, the mountains, and the sunset.

To breathe them in … and forget – or breathe them out … and remember. To reminisce. But do not expect to find all the people and things you recall from before you left – if that is your desire.

There is that old neighborhood where you grew up. The elementary school you went to. The alleys, the stones, the trees have not changed. It's like you never left them and yet so many years have gone by.

What has changed is the people. Many left. They no longer sit there at the tables on the sidewalks, chatting, philosophizing, solving the problems of the world. Their houses are shuttered.

New people have taken the place of the previous ones. One generation succeeds the other, whether we like it or not. Some come – children and grandchildren – and some go. Everlasting be their memories and God bless them wherever they are.

It’s sad because the ones we knew are gone. We only know those who are there now from their resemblance to those who no longer exist.

But memory is a powerful thing, and we see their walk imprinted everywhere. As long as we live, we will see them before us.

In the cafe, the only group I see, a small cluster of friends, drinks its ouzo with a meze of cheese, sardines, cucumber, and bread. They are chatting loudly.

The issue is the coronavirus. But the burden of their ire falls on the television presenters. They do not trust them. They claim that they are deceiving them, hiding the truth from them.

They will not get the vaccine. They are protected by fresh air. And ouzo…

"You remind me of Dr. Fauci," I say to one. "Why; Does he know more than I do?" he answers me. At the moment I find it difficult to answer. He may be right, I thought.

My old friend P., although at an advanced age now, was waiting for me in his field. He works from the morning to the evening – planting, watering, preparing. Everything will be fresh for him, and in abundance.

I do not see others working in the surrounding fields, I tell him. “Nah,” he says, with sadness. “Those days are gone, they are over. Nobody works anymore. Only the Albanians. They will buy Greece one day,” he tells me with conviction.

My dear friend knows what he is talking about. He is a wise man - a man of few words - but a man who always knew what he was saying. Regardless of the fact that he never went to school or had a formal education.