Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Bit of Inspiration, Make that Two Bits.

These days, searching the news for anything positive about Greece makes me appreciate the position of social director on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg: it’s all about the crisis, stupid.

But if you look hard enough, you’ll find what assures us who know and love Greece that no matter what happens in that tortured/torturing bit of central Athens known as Parliament, Hellas will survive.

This week I found my inspiration through the Greece-Ellada Facebook page of my Mykonian friend, Milka Milada Piccini. 

Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou
It was an aerial video tour high above some of Greece’s most beautiful and enduring landscapes.  I’ve seen longer versions of the film before, some with subtitles and a guidebook soundtrack, others set to the music of Vangelis.  You don’t know Vangelis?  Think Chariots of Fire, Blade Runner and of one of the greatest composers of electronic music of all time. 

But this is the best one I’ve found at capturing in fifteen minutes the essence of what is Greece.  Done in high definition video and set to largely traditional music, it briefly touches upon the environs of Athens, then drifts out to sea and on to Mykonos and Delos before soaring on to other islands (mostly Cycladic) and mainland sites, passing over Macedonia, Mount Athos, Meteora, Delphi, Olympia, and so many others. Here it is:

By the time it’s over I promise you will be at peace.  To remain that way, I suggest you stay away from all news for as long as you can stand.

I have one more inspirational site/sight for your consideration.  It’s a photograph I took three days ago from the same window in my New York City office as I watched the World Trade Center Twin Towers crumble on 9/11.

Centered in the photo is the new One World Trade Center on its way to reclaiming a dominant position in Manhattan's skyline.  Ninety floors up, fourteen more to go.

God Bless America.  God Bless Greece.



  1. Where to begin? The natural beauty of the islands and the blue of the water speak for themselves but the waterfalls and the wild horses are rare sights. The green field overlaid with the purple heather (?) is saying God's palette puts man's to shame. What better eye for beauty than the Creator of all beauty? The house with the red roof that seems to be the only place in the world is beautiful in its declaration that man can claim any place as his own.

    Perhaps because I am enthralled by history, the ruins fire my imagination. How did men create, so long ago, places that are perched on the edge of a cliff seemingly defying gravity? But it is the ordinary that beings the civilization to life. I have not been to Greece but I have been to Rome. In the forum, not the one made famous by Julius Caesar's assassination, there is a pipe that carries ice cold, pure water over an aqueduct that runs from the Alps. It is the only place in Rome where bottled water isn't required. Nearly two thousand years ago, someone stood in the same spot and drank water from the same place as I did. That is thrilling.

    The year we went to Rome, my daughter was at William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. The restored area of Colonial Williamsburg is a lovely place to spend time but most of the buildings that are restored are actually new buildings made of original materials built on the original footprints. There was a great deal of excitement about the identification of an artifact - a circular disc made from bone haveing four small holes drilled into it. When a group of them were found in the same location, archeologists realized that they were buttons. It brought home the point that we are a vwry young country.

  2. Just lovely. I am a little wet-eyed because the romantic in me always wanted to go to greece and walk in the footsteps of the Gods-corny but true. In the end, all we want is our little piece of the world, in which to do what we love in peace. History should tell me different, but I dream on.

  3. Gorgeous clip, gorgeaous post. Thanks, Jeff.

  4. During a gardening class today, I mentioned my Greek rescue dog, courtesy of my husband's visit several years ago. The instructor was, unknown but not surprisingly, of Greek heritage. We persuaded all other attendees that they need to visit Greece (if only to rescue a dog?). God bless all creatures and nations, great or small.

  5. Thank you, B, L, & T (honest, any resemblance to a sandwich was purely coincidental). Your thoughts reflect the sorts of feelings I'd hoped the video might elicit about a wondrous land facing very difficult times.

    And, Liz, your point on the plight of rescue dogs is well taken. There is, as it seems with all things Greek these days, a dramatically worsening situation. On Mykonos, for example, the island's already tiny budget commitment to care for abandoned animals in need was cut by approximately 70%.

  6. I had to look a few times to get the reference. I am getting increasingly slow-witted.

    Not that I am in the market for one (have two rescues already) but is it not difficult to bring dogs to the US? Years ago, a friend was bringing a dog from Ireland and it was in quarantine for quite awhile,

  7. Beth. You, slow-witted? Not a chance. Not possible. No way. You're the B in BLT.

    Okay, I'll stop right there, and not burden you further with such silliness, such as thoughts of adopting a rescue dog from Mykonos. That's why I won't mention my Mykonos Animal Welfare friends on the island who could answer all of your questions about bringing a dog (or cat) from Greece to your home country and at times can even arrange to have the animal flown to its new home.

    No, I won't burden you with such things. I think it's better just to watch the video again...and imagine the critter next to you by the fireplace...

  8. Already tripping over two critters and we had to forgo the fireplace years ago when one of the kids developed asthma. We had to choose between chestnuts roasting on an open fire and a child turning blue.

    Another child developed whooping cough when she was eight even though the vaccination was supposed to protect her until the early teen years. The "whooping" is supposed to be the sound of the cough but I found out that kids aren't coughing; they are drowning. We had Typhoid Mary here. The case was reported to the Department of Public Health, notes had to be sent home with all 600 kids in her school, and anyone she was with who were living with someone with a compromised immune system had to be notified. She got sick two days after Thanksgiving. She was the unofficial babysitter for her two-year old cousin who was in the midst of getting his vaccines. He wasn't in danger of getting it bur his pregnant mother was.

    No one told me the immunity wouldn't last forever. No one told me that someone with whom she was in contact, probably someone at school could be a carrier without being sick. No one said I could qualify for a medical degree before they all made it through high school.

    And getting back to the original point, we don't speak Greek so the dog would be confused.

  9. Beth, after hearing all that I could not agree with you more: Spare the dog and spoil the child.

  10. I seem to be the slow one.

    1) literally, my instructor's and mine enthusiasm for Greece incited others to consider a visit;
    2) our 3 Greek rescue dogs have fitted in with our (over 30 years) 50 or so other rescues--4 is the legal limit at any 1 time and the oldest at time of death was 18.
    3) our first vet sold his practice, so that he could travel to third world countries offering his services (how blessed is that).

  11. Our rescue beast from/and often back in Myconos is the Great Catsby, aka Mr. Fatso, to you. Please please do visit our island of dreams. If Athens seems too daunting, there are flights direct from most any Euorpean major(ish) airport. As for finding our little piece of the world, in which to do what we love in peace....Mykonos is still our place. Thanks for keeping the faith Jeff, and your crew.

  12. Liz, no part of my BLT is "slow." And although I know you actually got the pun, in deference to several contacting me off line who did not, I vow never again to do food puns--so help me B as in Beth (bacon), L as in Liz (lettuce), and T as in Tim (tomato).

    Now that I've gotten that out of the whey, let me say how much you WOW me, Liz. Just how many lives do you lead? I was first impressed with all the good work of the rescue movement by my son's inseparable companion, Shayna the rescue wonder dog, and inspired by the selfless commitment of friends in the Myknonos Animal Welfare such as "Shrew," but the extraordinary contributions made by you and your vet to the cause bowl me over! God bless.

    And yes, Shrew, as you, Liz, and I know, the unique international lifestyle of Mykonos makes it far different a place in many ways from the rest of Greece, and though that brings with it ying and yang implications, those distinctions are decidedly major positives for visitors in these unsettled times.

  13. Is there no end to the pain?