mardi, mai 23, 2006

Mykonos dreamin'

Married friends are currently spending two weeks in Greece-one week on Rhodes and one on another famous island, Mykonos. Radiologists who make an excellent living, they have been to Greece before. Not to mention Egypt, France, Italy, and other countries too numerous to mention here. As I bid one of them a wistful farewell the day before they leave, I wonder if I will ever be able to afford to travel to these islands, redolent of myth and history. Growing up immersed in Mary Renault's novels of the ancient world, I craved the sight of the temples and beaches where the real and fictional heroes of childhood walked and fought and loved. Like so many college literature majors, I read Nikos Kazantzakis and built air-castles out of sun-drenched Greek villages and the imagined lives of ardent peasants. As a shy graduate student, I listened raptly as a handsome artist attempted to seduce me at New York's Metropolitan Museum by describing the essence of the light in Greece, his hand idly caressing my shoulder as I sat like a fly snared in honey. My footlose roots go much deeper than my own experiences. My parents traveled all over Europe. My grandmother went regularly to Mexico and South America in the depths of the Depression. Thus far, however, I haven't been able to afford such regular trips. A number of these lovely places are just photos or souvenirs or dinner conversation to me. As I get older, the desire to visit Greece and Tuscany and the Scottish Highlands remains powerful. At the same time, I am very aware of how much of that longing is a product of my upbringing and relative affluence. My visions are those of the privileged classes, and my hobo dreams are linked to what I have experienced already. Knowing this doesn't silence the call of my inner traveler...but it does remind me of how much I have already been given. In the meantime, I'm eager, like a hearthbound spouse of old, to hear the tales of adventure when my friends the Greek travelers return. Hopefully that will spur me on to make some of my own visions a reality.

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