It is the end of Carnival week on Paros, tomorrow is Clean Monday. The shops are closed, and the people strolling the streets casually are sometimes in costume, sometimes tarted up a bit with paint and feathers. There was live music today in one of the cafes out on the paralia seafront.
I opted out of the Mardi Gras festivities last night to clear the last remaining vestiges of jet lag from my system. Sat on the rug in my bedroom in front of the space heater with a cup of tea, a dish of rice pudding, and Ted Hughes’ translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It was the first solitary evening in my apartment. I was exhausted – I asked Seamus yesterday “Seamus, ever have one of those weeks where you’ve been in four countries in four days and you find yourself a little dizzy on Sunday?”. He just looked at me. His route to Paros started in Boston, went through the Czech Republic and Serbia to Athens and then to Paros. We all looked a little shellshocked yesterday, as a matter of fact.
Anyway, I went to bed promptly and properly at ten o’clock, and when I awoke at five very sternly made myself go back to sleep. And it worked! A full night’s rest, a satisfying dinner (and then more tea and rice pudding for breakfast) and I was alright again. Happy as a peach. I don’t like shellfish metaphors, they skeeve me out, so peaches it is.
So today, in keeping with the theme of “absolute hedonism designed to keep the fatigue away” I sauntered slowly into my day, with tea on the balcony and a long bath, then a nice tidying up of the apartment. It was one o’clock before I headed into town to see if any stores were open to provision for dinner. I wandered slowly with the Sunday strollers through the twisty streets, revisiting all the nooks of the village that I hadn’t yet seen since my return. A gorgeous, bright, vivid day, and still for once – no wind rushing me through the corridors of the buildings. I finally found an open shop on the waterfront, and stocked up to make alfredo for dinner, then headed back to the studio to complete my only real chore for the day – stretching canvas.
Kathryn and Seamus were already in the studio, with the same idea in mind. We stood around chatting while we worked, catching up on what had happened over the winter. There’s this strange feeling that no time has passed, that we all left for the weekend or for a brief break and are returning, exactly the same as ever. There’s a certain unity that is only stronger now that we have returned, and we all are more determined and with greater purpose than before. It’s pretty beautiful.
Brittany showed up when Seamus and I were nearly finished, and we headed out to Zorba’s then back to my place. Brittany set up speakers and I plugged in my iPod (I’m waiting for someone to coin a name for the kind of cabaret-gypsy-jazz that’s getting popular – Andrew Bird, Jolie Holland, Paris Combo, even Fiona Apple’s new album – they all have that same thread of style between them) and we moved the settee in front of the balcony. I made espresso and Brittany curled up with a pashmina and Seamus sat on a stool on the balcony and drew in his new journal. The violins wavered with the afternoon sun and we watched two cats groom each other on the roof opposite and I thought “This is my new definition of the word ‘Sunday'”.
And that is where we are now, late afternoon in Greece, and I am moving my prepared canvases back into my studio and getting ready to go make dinner for the kids. My little flat needed the warmth of an afternoon with friends, something to really christen it into a home. Tea on the balcony, good music, laughter – kalispera.