I have good friends who are currently walking in the steps of Sophocles.
They are traipsing and emoting on the stages and stones for which Aristophanes wrote, in front of audiences comprised of the ghosts of thousands of years and several tourists recovering from jet lag.
What’s Greek for “trés cool?”
They are surveying the markets and hills and olive trees of Nafplion, unencumbered by the restraining doubts and visions of Kazantzakis…and un-driven by the ferocity of Byron.
They are absorbers…
…of the beginning of much…
…of the tenacity of higher thought…
…of the remains of what could have been…and…
…what may still be possible.
I envy them their journey and am grateful they have chosen to share their revelations daily on social media……even the sesame seed covered nuts.
Yes, I envy them being there.
But…I don’t envy them getting there.
I am at a place in my life where the simple thought of dealing with airports, luggage, cramped seats for hours, luggage, varying hotels with varying standards of hygiene (and plumbing), and luggage is beyond tolerance. Hell, the thought of driving six or seven hours in the car is beyond tolerance.
My friends still have this energy, this drive, and I admire them mightily. I’m happy for them, but it’s just not for me.
Besides…I’ve already been there.
I’ve argued with Antigone, I’ve drunk the hemlock, I’ve fought and betrayed my brother in the hills of revolutionary Greece (Nikos Kazantzakis’ THE FRATRICIDES), I’ve sailed with Byron to physically redeem Greece…from something, I’ve roared with Zorba, I’ve been struck to death and then swallowed by governmental corruption (the brilliant film; “Z”). I have sung with Orpheus in Greece, Brazil, Paris, and Hadestown. I used to sell olives from Nafplion. Last week I eavesdropped on Zeus himself as he decided to let Euripides prattle on a bit more (Eden Philpotts’ “The Miniature”).
I know it’s not the same as actually being there
…my aging kitten is in my lap, my luggage is gathering dust upstairs, and there’s no “Do not disturb” sign on my doors…
…and this week I’m in early 19th century rural France trying to retain my head as the aristocracy returns to power. The view and the air are invigorating, the politics are intimidating…and I didn’t have to shuck my shoes to get there.