Friday, October 06, 2006


Two years ago, we went to Greece. Partway through the trip, we took a ferry to the island of Paros. In a little shop on Paros, Luther bought two photo prints, images from the 1950s, little scenes from the towns of Naoussa and Parikia. They were really terrific because they were pictures of Paros as it was back when Luther's Mom spent time there as a child.

Then we took the ferry back to Athens. The ferry ride is a couple of hours long, and Luther took half a dramamine, and I wandered around and watched for the dolphin I'd seen on the way over. And when the ferry docked, we left the ferry, and the photo prints stayed with the ferry, tucked between a seat and a wall where they wouldn't get damaged by passersby.

Occasionally I hunt for such pictures online. It's a fruitless pursuit. The Greece that is online is young and all about the new, not the old.

When I hunt, I get homesick. That's the best word to describe it. I remember the smell of exhaust from the scooters zipping dangerously by on the road between the little hotel and the little beach in Parikia. The Greek dust on the marble -was it marble? I remember it as marble- of my Mom-in-law's patio, where one can stand surrounded by miles and miles of city and see the Acropolis right there, like it's the most ordinary thing in the world. Riding the streetcar. Ice cream at the beach.

I found one photograph of the port of Piraeus in Athens, from the late 1800s, with three-masted ships. The beach with the ice cream is in the picture. My mind does a triple-track camera dolly move, with a focus pull from the Athens of my high school Ancient History class (the second time in summer school, because I failed it the first time) to the Athens of two years ago, with a bus ride, and branded umbrellas in a beach bar, and pretty sailboats, and a photograph that I use for my Blogger profile.

I say to Luther, "When are we going home?" and he doesn't even blink, because he knows which home I'm talking about, and he says, "Soon, baby."

Then today, Jimmy Buffet is playing in my head, and I'm thinking about bantam chickens standing on Volkswagon beetles. And I still have that dusty marble in my mind, but I'm picturing the fireworks of New Year's so far away they look like sparklers, and the black ocean is all around me, and it's quiet because the ship has a sail and isn't using its motor. Waking up in our tent, with the wind blowing, but we did a crazy thing and brought the futon from the couch, so we don't even need tent pegs because the futon keeps the tent on the ground. And we ride our bikes off the Navy base to the bar, where we eat oysters with friends.

Yesterday I was homesick for Greece, and I'm still homesick for Greece, but today I am also homesick for Key West.

I wonder how many places I'll be homesick for, by the time I'm done with this living thing and decide to go away?

No comments: