Deeply Engraved or, Who’s Afraid of a Few Puddles?
Maybe my little appeal to Zeus worked. It rained in Olympia on Saturday night and was still drizzling on Sunday morning, to the extent that there were puddles and earthworks all over the ancient site. (Any athletes running a race would have very likely found themselves not only mud-spattered, but splayed upon the clayey ground.) Later in the day, the windows of our bubblegum purple bus grew foggy as we drove north over the Rio-Antirrio bridge connecting the Peloponnese to the Greek mainland, and as we went up and up in the mountains to Delphi. Our tour guide mentioned there might not only be rain but even snow when we visit the site of the god Apollo oracle's Monday morning.
Back on the homefront, Jim and Charlie were able to get out their bikes for a ride. This did involve (the semi-Herculean feat of) wading through a foot of water at one corner. By Jim's account, Charlie was (as per usual) a sport o' sports and went right in. I'm presuming both dad and son needed at least a shirt to sole change of clothes and shoes and maybe a hot shower afterwards.
I'm typing this on a hotel computer in a smokey bar while three Greek men cheer on their soccer team ("cheer" is kind of an understatement) and check the scores on all the other computers, and "Dancing Queen" plays in the background. (Yeah, pretty different from my usual environs.) I'll have to wait till I can log on to the web on my own laptop to Update an hour later: I got the wireless to work on my laptop and have been able to upload some photos of our not very sunny Greek holiday(/class—I did type up a list of journal assignments and passed them out as we waited to get on the airplane, and have reminded the students of their reading and the final paper, and that they're to be learning the Greek alphabet).
So I'll simply note: Wish you who're reading this could all be on this trip (taking this class……). While rain renders all muddy and (obviously) wet (and in a flooded way, in the case of my town and other Jersey locals), the rain also casts a new light on things, and not just because it washes away dirt to reveal something hidden beneath. At Olympia, the tour guide pointed out small ovalish indentationsin the bases of states: These showed where the feet of statues (long ago literally knocked off had once been fastened. The grooves were filled with rain water, which made it easier to notice them; without the water (which wasn't the cleanest) it was far harder to see them and I'd overlooked them before. I thought of the missing statue of some athlete who'd once won Olympic glory (the original kind), and of how, aside from the letters inscribed in the base, these little grooves were the only mark of what had once been there—but a permanent one, deeply engraved.
Just like the voice of a certain boy is always echoing in my head.