Monday, February 9, 2009

Cape Sounion

Thirteen years old, on the cusp of my own turbulent waves of adolescence. No longer a child but not yet anything other, I walked with my parents back through time; we stumbled among the rubble of ages, the ruins of Poseidon's temple at Cape Sounion. A spring day, blue Aegean sky and bleached white marble—the temple's Doric columns holding up the heavens, as if to cushion the proud, forgotten Olympians in their centuries of slumber. If they awoke, what would they take me for: supplicant or sacrilegious trespasser? I walked near the promontory's edge, looked across the water in the direction of Crete and saw—what? Was my command of mythology solid enough then to have imagined a ship approaching, its black sail hoisted instead of white? Hellenism, Romanticism—there we saw the name of Byron carved deep into ancient stone. However loyal to Greece, a mortal name gouged into holy marble seems enough to summon a strike of the trident. We strolled the once-sacred ground, now swelling with tourists. I remember most of all the abundance of yellow wildflowers in the field; how I sat on the warm earth and strung them together to make a garland that I wove through my long, brown hair. My own sea changes stayed for the moment—sitting in the shadow of this colossal monument to the god of oceans and earthquakes—I was still at an age when I wanted to wear flowers in my hair.

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