Today I was fantasizing about the past. Long ago. When I was a very young man.
I was living in a village in the mountains on a Greek island. It was all the wonderful things you are probably imagining as you read this. Tranquil, simple, wholesome, full of generosity, pleasure filled.
I learned simplicity. At least once a week I would head out into the further up hills with the village blacksmith to graze. We would hike and he would show me wild plants that were edible. And delicious. And we’d drink from a raging stream.
I would often wander with my friends up the way to pay a visit to the village winemaker. His wife would feed us with delicious meats and desserts while our bottles and flasks were being filled by her husband. The rest of the afternoon and evening were filled with revelry.
I also learned fear. I often rode into the major town down the mountain on the back of a young German’s BMW motorcycle. He was adorned with helmet and leathers. I was in my cut-offs and tee. He rode fast. Very fast. Along narrow, winding mountain roads where my knees were just above the pavement as we bent into the turns. I was very afraid to ride with him. But I did. I feared the loss of face much, much more.
This German lad was a few years older than I was. But he would have been an artist’s model of an Aryan god. Tall, strong and solid, blond, blue-eyed, all the young Greek women in the village would stop, stare, and hold their breath whenever he walked by. Yet he was intimidated by women. He had absolutely no confidence around them. None. I was in total amazement at this. Watching him, I learned a lot. About interacting with women. What not to do. That looks and physical presence were much less important than one would imagine.
I had to leave the village twice to attend to a very ill friend. I did go back, however, for a visit 5 years later. For many reasons, nothing seemed the same. My blacksmith friend was then working in Germany. So though I was there, I really couldn’t go back.
But today I did.