Century #17: On the Island

Deutsch: Olivenbäume (Olea europaea ssp. europ...

Deutsch: Olivenbäume (Olea europaea ssp. europaea) auf Korfu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the journal of Lita Hopkins



My life has become a seamless mesh of waking and dream since we arrived on this island. Here my thoughts and imagination blend with the daily activities of life. At any moment I, me as an individual, only exists for that moment to flow into and out of the moments that collide and overlap. I cannot tell what hour or day it is half of the time. The air is always warm and the light so strong, colors pull at the eyes. How can there be a place such as this and all of the world is not here dreaming by the sea.

The buildings here are very old, but painted such light and airy colors they shine, tilting and leaning on one another along the winding streets. From the hills at night lit here and there are the tiered palaces of the long ago dukes and princes. How can this be the place where people developed the idea of civilization, when all I want to do is drowse and dream.


After touring the island we have found a perfect place just outside of a little fishing village, on the southern coast, an old stone cutters house on the edge of an abandoned quarry and perched on the rocks above a small beach. To the north are ragged tumbles of rocky hills over which the road runs about 20 km into the town. There is an ancient grove of gnarled olive trees to the west with a blanket of soft brown edged grass coming knee high in clumps around the edge and tiny pond fed by a brook working its way down the rocky hills. This will be our home for the spring and summer.


We are provisioned by a small steam launch that chugs and coughs up to the dock on the west end of the beach every 2 or 3 days. The crew is rough but honest. I have no doubt they overcharge us, but they have no connections with us. We do not belong here. They laugh and sing, no doubt, swear, as they unload our crates and mail. They were surprised the first time to be dealing with a woman. I get the feeling they live very separate lives from women. The captain, so I assume since he is always shouting at the others and transacts the business, but then maybe he is the one who speaks English, treats me like a servant, and seems amazed that my master would allow me so much freedom with money and responsibility for ordering. I simply give him my order and ask questions when I don’t understand. He clearly disapproves of such forward behavior, but does not know enough English to question it.


As I was kneading bread for the evening meal, I heard a loud, sharp knock at the front door. I opened it to find a small, middle-aged man, dusty from the path, but very primly dressed. “Anderson Coyle,” he said as he strode past me with tip of his straw hat, “I hope you don’t mind me dropping by like this but I could hardly call or send a telegram.” He is a professor of archeology studying the monasteries in the area and assisting the local authorities in locating some vaguely documented sites. He and Charles hit it off immediately. By the end of the evening Charles had him promising to send his monograph on the early Christian monastic life in Greece. Not a lot happens here but whatever does shines like mica from dull stone.

This entry was posted in Century, conversations, developing relationships, novel projects, spring and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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