The Drowned Village.

In memory of the sunken village of Σφεντυλι, a tribute in pictoral form, photographed in Summer 2014. 

It was an amazing trip! A hot early summer’s (June I think) day, I was on my break and I had decided to take a scooter ride up to the mountains. I took a detour down the road to the village as it occured to me that I had never been there before and fancied a new experience, also to see the village before it dissapreared “forever” under the water. 

The frogs chorus as I approached the lake was deafening! I got off the scooter and just sat there soaking up the atmosphere for a while before heading up the old road towards the village on foot. 

It wouldn’t be long before the village would be lost under the resevoir that was being constructed. Just beyond the village of ποταμιες and before the beautiful village of Αβγού on the road to Καστελι lay this little village. It had been evacuated long ago, the local people paid to leave their homes. However it was not willingly they left. The loss of the village, the beloved streets and homes that had nurtured generations of people who had grown up and lived out their lives there. There were still at the time I visited sneaking around with my camera, a couple of people still living there, refusing to leave, their black flags gently fluttering in the breeze, their last stand of defiance against what would only be inevitable.

It was such an eerie feeling walking around the deserted streets and houses. It was like people had left in great haste, leaving their posessions behind. I felt the ghosts and spirits of the older generations and their ancestral dead swirling cooly around me, as if they knew what was about to befall the place. The air was cool but stifling with their presence. There were odd moments of absolute stillness, stifling in the heat, the sweat trickling down my neck and back along with the fingers of the ghosts, contrasted with old whispered memories tumbling down the empty streets, upon a fluttering leaf or a stirring breeze. 

Today you see nothing there, just the lake. And that which is reflected back from its surface.

This line below sums up the experience for me perfectly: 

“There is  no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe 

Rest in peace, Σφεντυλι.

Ode To The One Who Never Was.

I am back in the cave where we first met, that dark, safe place where you once lived. 

The place where I learned to let go of my fear, the place I learned to love you….witch lady, spirit lady, lady of Other. Your dark eyes aglow with the fire as it shimmers and reflects in the water of your eyes, my whole being aflame, inflamed by you…

In this hollow, empty space I now stand, I bring the memory of you back into being. I infuse the memory with breath and I give it life; and for a moment, as I bridge the memory,  the red-golden glow of the fire flames flicker, dancing around the cave. You trace your finger down my face, turning me to you. And as I turn, I feel your lips gently brushing mine, and you lead me…
…deeper and deeper into your kiss…

deeper and deeper…

deeper and deeper…

…until a thousand stars are born.

Bacchus And The Little Bug.

It was a baking hot day, very early May, I think, two years ago now, 2015. We had readied the restaurant for the new season and we were taking some time just to relax and chill out after our hard work of preparations; sanding, painting, fixing, cleaning etc, before we would officially say, okay; time for play is over for the summer and now we work. It’s time to open again.

My beloved friends were around during that time and we had spent many a happy evening eating and drinking together, singing and dancing the evenings away until the small hours of the morning, or even until dawn broke the next day. Sometimes around seven a.m. I would stagger my friend back home safely to her bed as the sun was rising, singing rebetika songs as we weaved our way through the empty streets. 

It was around about this time though also, that I was struggling with my spirituality, my take on things, my world views etc. A lot of it also was about letting go of myself and really finding out what was there. One of those things I was determined to find out was when that crossover happens, that exact moment when I stop drinking the wine and the wine drinks of me instead. 

So one day I sat down to have a chat with the God of the wine to find out.

Shortly before this day we had found a stash of old discarded wine that a friend of my friends had left out after closing down his restaurant business. His back garden had become a waste ground for the entire contents of his restaurant. Cooking equipment, plates, foods, you name it, it was there, thrown out as trash. Don’t ask me why he threw it all out, I don’t know. I can only guess he was heartbroken after the loss of his restaurant and flipped. Either way, there was a huge stock pile of wine also. Red wines and rose wines, Bacchus read the etiket on the bottles. Some were in good condition, some were obviously off and spoiled. One evening, my partner and I loaded up what looked to be the still drinkable of the lot into the pick up truck; and off we went with it.

So, back to that baking hot morning, shortly after, around nine am, I had decided to dedicate that day to exploring my relationship with wine. I swapped my morning coffee for wine instead and taking an armful of bottles out with me, I sat down to drink at the back of the restaurant. I sat down on the old rickety wooden chair and table, under the shade of the old gum tree. A gentle breeze caressing my cheeks every so often, bringing sweet relief from the heat and bringing with it also the beautiful scent of the large rose geranium bush that was growing near by. The morning was busy with the little chaffinches bustling about around me, dogs barking somewhere off in the distance from the direction of the village, hover flies darting and hovering, bees buzzing about. It was a perfect morning. 
It was an odd feeling, to have such freedom do so as I pleased and I realised then how lucky I was to have this kind of lifestyle. Such freedom to be able to do what I was about to do. To allow myself, to give myself rather, to a day of drinking, to meet with the God or spirit of the wine. But, at the same time, my task was to be able to hold my own consciousness to the point of absolute awareness through out, to be the one through out the entire experience drinking the wine. If I could manage it. And, I did. I drank myself sober. 

I don’t know how many bottles I got through, over six or seven, perhaps eight, when I stood up, stretched and called it a night around ten p.m. I had been there all day, except for the odd loo break, my consciousness both totally absorbed in the wine, my environment and the creatures I shared it with and at the same time, sentient somehow, apart. 

And it was so peaceful, beautiful. Just to be aware of every breath I took, the warmth, breezes and winds on my skin, the sounds and smells around me and the feeling of the wine as it became my blood, coursing through my veins and through my mind. It became a part of me and I of it. The same with my surroundings. Like the fisher man in my previous story, in a way. And we sat like that for hours and hours in still, ecstatic, blissfull company. 

At a time during this, sometime towards the mid afternoon after the sun had reached its highest point, I was watching a little bug walking around the top edge of an old plastic paint pot. Round and round it went, clockwise, round and around. There was a spider web that it successfully navigated on its journey around the circumfrance of the pot, and always just at the right moment, it dipped and avoided the web. I don’t know for how long I sat watching it, a long time. I became aware of myself in relation to the bug and asked it;
“Where are you going?” 

And sure enough the bug listened and stopped at the nearest point to me, waving its antenna around frantically, and then as if in a state of confusion walked left, right, left then right, stopped, then it turned left again. This time it carried on and of course, walked straight into the spider web and got stuck. I rescued it, picking it out of the web on my finger and placing it in the rose geranuim bush. What happened to the little bug after that, I will never know. But if I take anything with me from that whole experience, it is the story of the little bug. For me it has great significance. Will not say what exactly and I will allow you, dear readers, to draw what you will from these words. I just wanted to share the story, and I hope you have enjoyed it.

Just for the record, I don’t recommend drinking as I did, not at all. But for me it was an informative time and a time of deep self exploration and it continues.

Photo Credits:
Photo 1: Bacchus, Artist Unknown

Photo 2: Dionysus, Wikipedia 

Photo 3: 

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-graphosoma-lineatum-red-black-striped-stink-bug-image9137070