An Athens inside
My socks had been cotton bayous in my tired shoes since leaving the hotel and I wanted nothing more than to lay down and read a book. But if it might be your only day in Athens, you have to walk up to the Acropolis. So I did.
Up stone streets where musicians played and babies sang, crowds of Greeks and visitors sweating in the same language, and onto the slopes of that historic place. Not yet to the big names, I came across a small church. Small. Too small to show up on any google map I can find.
Inside was cool and calm. Pillars and arches, some older than others, history’s refurbishment, and a few paintings whose holy figures have mattered much to many over the centuries.
I’m not much for dogma, and organized religion sometimes strikes me as distractions from any core message they purport to contain, but this place felt good, cool on a hot day, calm in a roiled month. I took a photo, then just relaxed to breathe the stillness within stone walls. It was just what I needed.
And two tourists showed up, overly loud American conversation, clicking cell phone photos as they scanned for anything worth instagramming. Smacks of chewing gum and “OMG Sarah” clashed off the corners that had been quiet and they barged through behind the altar wall without any pause for deference or thought.
Bustled around, blabbered and dithered, then went on their youthful way. The lithic peace came back immediately. It hadn’t left. The calm of a longer perspective was there the whole time, no matter what jangling discordance of the moment intruded.
That’s how I’m trying to hold my soul today, as an Attorney General perjures himself and his party doesn’t seem to mind, as a sinister foreign plot contaminates my government, who receives it with open arms, and as common sense and human decency seem inadmissible to the court of public opinion.
They’ll probably bustle right back out again. In the meantime, I care, but I have within me a geologic permanence, as far as such things as stone can go. Quiet corridors of time that have echoed with centuries of errors and misfortune but come out sacred anyway.
Plus it’s Friday and life is good. Enjoy your weekends, my friends!