From the journal of Lita Hopkins
Last night I lay awake listening to Charles’ wrestle his dream demons, but in calm moment soft notes of the shepherd’s pipes from up the hill blended with the rattling of olive leaves and the gentle sighing hiss of the waves on the beach below like a whispering orchestra of lulling me to sleep. Even Charles seemed soothed into restful slumbers by it.
It is so still here at night, once the children have ceased their antics and small bickerings. This is like no other stillness I have known. At first I felt my worries come sneaking out as soon as the crowded busyness of the day gives way to the dark open space of evening, but even they were lulled away by the soft drifting song of the night, leaving me to just be next to my Charles.
Tomorrow he leaves with Professor Coyle. I am certain it will be a good distraction for Charles if his health holds up. Already today he is full of life, discussing the itinerary with the professor.
Charles left this morning looking very adventurous as he got into the professors rattletrap motorcar.
“I shall write you and the children about our explorations,” He said. “ I don’t know if we will stay long enough in one place to get mail, But I will try get an address so you can write to me.”
Part of me wants to be with him to see those ancient places, but mostly to see how they light in him the old fires of intellect which got him through the darkness after the war. Mostly I am content to stay in this quiet place and watch the children play and grow strong in the sun.
Out of nervous energy I have begun a project, a kitchen garden on the terrace next to the house. Mr. Bramble and Lorenzo, Nancy and the children, and even Mr. Papandreus, the little old shepherd whose flute I hear at night, and his wife, Nika, a tiny hardy weed of a woman, have helped me to move and dig soil. We planted seeds and put in some grapes cut from Mr. P’s own vines. He found an old arbor at the side of the house and installed it on the south side making a little arch that frames the crystal water of the little bay. Nancy and I have made a feast to celebrate all our hard work. I have been working so hard the last couple of days and yet feel so strong and ready to do more. Margo and Fletcher are eager to help as well. The little one tags along undoing little things in her effort to be a help, but everyone praises her for her brave attempts at small tasks.
I love this simple life. England seems so distant and grey compared to this bright place.
Books, and odds and ends, some kitchen items arrive from England in crates. My sewing machine and iron. Who thinks of pressing clothes when working in such basic conditions?
The straw padding from the crates nicely covered the floor of the little stone pen that we have installed a fine pair of nanny goats, for milk. Mr. P will teach Nancy and me how to care for them. We have also acquired 5 fat white laying hens for the fresh eggs and manure for the garden.
Three of Maude’s bright Yorkshire landscapes came. The English country side looks so exotic here, next to Mae’s simple abracts.
“Of the two visions, I prefer Mae’s,” Mr. Bramble said, “It’s closer to where I live.”
Or as Mae said to me when I made some vague comment about being so far from our house in England.
“Home is where your head is.”
I think my head is in transition, somewhere between England and where my body is, but every day I come closer to home.