Around here there’s preparation for Easter. That Christmas may be growing in significance has nothing to do with parity between Passion - Αναπαράσταση των Παθών - and Nativity; more to do with secularism borrowing the story, as once the pale Galileans borrowed rituals for the solstices and the end of winter from Pantheism. Asvesti - ασβέστη whitewash - comes in soggy plastic sacks and, after much sweeping and tidying, is painted before Easter in wide lines throughout villages across the country to tidy public-private boundaries, mark the edge of steps, and brighten dusty skirtings. On the narrow sea ferries double their schedules between Corfu and the mainland bringing relatives from the cities to home villages, from the Greek diaspora; people come home to their birthplaces. I, being a roaming metropolitan have the deepest fondness for sharing in this get-together. I apprehend no better account of human nature; no greater drama than Easter – borrowed donkey, laid palms, shouted hosannahs, public excitement, imperial and provincial politics, an intimate supper, wine and bread, a nightwatch and bitter cup, betrayal, arrest, terror, mob frenzy, a travesty trial, Ecce Homo, a washing of hands, torture, mockery, execration, blood and sweat, singular acts of compassion, nails driven through flesh and bone, love even so, a mother’s unspeakable sorrow, agony, abandonment, despair, Golgotha - Κρανίου Τόπος. This is what we do. How we would behave if? Would I wash my hands, offer help, promise never to deny but be terrified into doing just that, cry out for blood, scorn and spit with my fellows, watch the spectacle, fascinated, detached, passive or act with some unexpectedly brave impulse of decency. These choices aren’t dated.
|Epirus and Albania from Ano Korakiana at dawn|
I got an interesting message from my friend Andrew Simon in Birmingham, Hon.Sec. of the Friends of Black Patch Park, a project that has occupied a group of us for the last decade, when the park was threatened with being 'developed' for industry. Sandwell Council, in part because of our efforts, in part because of the economic crisis, have rescinded that part of the local plan for the area. but there remains a dearth of funds and commitment to restore or even maintain Black Patch Park, so this news - albeit the 'silly season' seems to last most of the year - might, apart from being fascinating, just jolt a hard-pressed council into cutting the grass better and help us attract cash for the Centenary celebration being organised by the Friends for Saturday 18 June 2011:
Hi Simon. Thought you might like to see the attached sent to me by Adrian Johnson. This is the latest of several articles to appear in the papers including The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, and the Birmingham Post and Mail. Best Wishes. Andrew
The night before last our sitting room filled with smoke after I lit the stove. Next morning all windows and doors were open. By afternoon a breeze dispersed the kippery smell. During the morning we removed the stove pipe, cleaned it and swept soot that hadn’t been collected on a plastic decorating sheet as Lin raked the inside of the chimney pipe with a half-moon of metal sheeting screwed on the end a broomstick.