Gillian Bouras
An Australian
Writer
Living in Greece

January 2015

Happy New Year. Belatedly. I’m finding it hard to think positively about the unfolding of time, and so on: the world is in such a mess, for one thing.

Greece is to go the polls again very shortly, and the public does not look forward to this, the whole matter having been organised, once again, by self-serving politicians. The Greek population has been tried almost beyond endurance for at least six years: somehow it keeps enduring.

And I do not rejoice in biting winds and the way in which they rip their way along the coast, tearing trees and other plants to shreds, and making sea and sky a dull pewter. However, it must be conceded that the Peloponnese turns on golden days now and then, as a kind of incentive. I think, to keep on going. Such was the case last week, when the Kalamata area was encased in a kind of glow for two or three days. Light danced off the sea, and the trees suddenly turned a mellow yellow.

Still, I am oft in pessimistic Shakespearian mood: bareness is everywhere, and so is wrathful nipping cold. I am haunted by the thought of the bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang.

But I remind myself that next month the wild flowers will be starting and that the weather will slowly become milder.

And my grandsons have had a good time visiting their grandparents in northern Greece: lots of snow and a whole day spent sledding. Soon they will return to school, and that is fine by them. Today is the Feast of Epiphany, the Day of Light, and the Blessing of the Waters. All over Greece, young people are braving the cold and goose pimples and swimming after the decorated cross that bishops cast into the steely waters. Far easier to be a young Greek and swimming in the much warmer water of, say, Port Melbourne.

There is much to be said for remembering the simpler times in which I grew up. A sign of age lately: I am thinking of the hymns of my childhood. Jesus Bids Us Shine was a favourite. Nobody questioned the sentiments, really. And I don’t now.

In this world is darkness. So we must shine: you in your small corner, and I in mine.

 

 

Gillian Bouras

 

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