Petalidi, Greece, September
The usual hypnotic rhythm of the sea is far from a gentle lullaby this morning. The rains came last evening, followed by heavy seas.
Slowly at first, deceptively, the dance began. By twilight, the sea became more and more frenzied. Sometime before midnight, the fury of the wild sea snapped the metal bracket and 1-inch-thick rope holding the jet boat to it’s mooring. Like a toy, the sea threw the sleek yellow racing hull into the waiting rocks of the cliff.
Somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, perhaps near Africa, deep in the bowels the Mediterranean Sea it had occurred. Perhaps an earthquake. The earth rumbled and shook under the sea, stirring it like an over filled bathtub. As if suffering from a huge stomachache, the sea belched with a tremendous force that set forth a fury that knew no boundaries.
Just after midnight, I’d searched in the darkness for the brightness of the yellow boat. In minutes, I discovered her, capsized and trapped against the jagged rocks, each wave thrashing, battering, tearing at the body of the $22,000 ski boat.
At dawn I find her more torn and battered. Like a fishing bobber, perhaps 10 feet from her body, a large chunk of her topside bounces up and down in the water
By 7 a.m., under dark clouds, she’s gone.
The scene on the beach is a frightening one. It’s as if an airliner had crashed at sea and debris washed ashore. Life preservers float aimlessly in a large tide pool. Chunks of fiber glass, foam padding, and the skeleton from one of the four seats are scattered across the wet sand. Helplessness comes over me standing there, as the rhythm of the sea continues, a song that never ceases.
The sun begins to warm the coast, and, as the salty mist start to lift, so does my mood, as I recall the afternoon before.
I’d driven south from the villa. Rolling along the narrow road, passing through a village, I spotted a side road almost hidden between two ancient buildings. Looking like a road less traveled I took it, and started a climb that led into the clouds and to the top of a mountain in the southern most part of Peloponnese, Greece.
Entering a village not on any map, I’d come upon ancient houses made of stone and mud lining each side of a narrow road, a road wide enough for only one car. I turn a corner and I am in front of the only store in the village. An old woman sits on a rickety chair in front of the door.
A huge grapevine covers the one story building. A trunk as thick as a big mans thigh grows up the side of the store. The vines cover the roof almost hiding the Coca-Cola sign. Big, deep purple bunches of grapes hang above our heads.
“Kalispera,” (Good evening) I say and smile.
“Kalispera,” she replies matching my smile.
Inside, I reach into a cooler and take a coke, then notice another woman, a smaller woman, standing behind an ancient cooler in the back of the single room. Behind her lined up on a shelf are dust-covered bottles of Ouzo and other spirits.
“Yassus,” I say. She answers with the same hello.
The coke and a bottle of water is 90 cents.
She follows me outside to where the other woman has now been joined by an old man with a cane. The woman gestures to an empty chair and I sit. I drink, she smiles, and the storeowner comes out and says something. She too smiles. I smile back.
I point to the grapes above and give them thumbs up sign, they all respond with something said in Greek and more smiles. We are communicating.
I grab my digital camera and take a picture of the three. In seconds, I show it to them. As the picture fades in, the brightest smiles appear on all three and their smiles light the darkness of the overcast day.
They are amazed. They are delighted. We have become friends.
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Jerry writes on personal growth, happiness and life, including lowering stress in the work world. His book “Life is a Joke and God Wrote it” can be ordered through www.jerrystanecki.com
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