persephone in athens

i arrived, a true persephone coming up through the bowels of the subway from the airport, to a stream of riot police storming by on their way to a demonstration in the main square of syntagma. 

welcome to athens, the city of athena, 
goddess of war and wisdom.

i am now traveling alone for a few days before my sister arrives, to begin the second leg of this journey. my husband returned to the states and i have traveled on to a country that i have often hated and loved in the same sentence. 

greece is not an easy place to be. at least not for me. 

since i lived here as a college student, i have been familiar with one of athena's aspects, because much of the time i have been in greece i have been at war......... with myself. 

some of you may not believe in these things, but i have a connection with this place that goes beyond the norm; it is physical, psychological, visceral. 
if you have this bond, if you connect with greece on this level, there is something in the fabric of this place that forces one to confront oneself, that holds you captive until hopefully, hopefully, the wisdom of athena can distill, can penetrate, can be absorbed.

ever since i went into the basement of that restaurant some 30 years ago and had a gestalt that changed my life, greece and i have had a tangled relationship. 

i am probably the only foreigner in this city who does not carry a camera with me. everywhere else i go in the world, the camera is a staunch companion, ready to capture that special moment, that setting sun, that light falling just so on the landscape.

but not here.

i have enough images in my head now, and in my heart, to last a lifetime. 

when i walk underneath the parthenon, i'm not sure i really see it anymore. it has become a part of me - i don't look ----- 
like a chemical bond, we are chelated. 
i think i saw it for the first time as a child, when my family and i climbed those white, smooth steps and posed for a photo in front of the propylaia. i think i saw it for the first time the moment i turned twenty, when my classmates serenaded me with happy birthday, walking at midnight under its gaze and the light of a full moon, heavy with vanilla light, over the athenian skyline.

i am hoping athena will now begin to share with me more of her other side......
 hoping to absorb that elusive wisdom in the coming days through the elements of the gods, driving towards the west and waiting..... 

for the muscular waves of the aegean to wash over me
for the ancient sun to illuminate me 
for the whispering attic winds to pass through me 

until next time my friends......



  1. I don't understand all the reasons why you hate this beautiful country, but wish you well in your travels. Stunning pomegranate.

  2. Your gorgeous pomegranate made me laugh – my husband tried a new recipe of pork roast in a pomegranate glaze which was more like a glue. The kids got in an argument over whether it was a liquid or solid. Welcome to our Underworld. It is the fruit that makes me think of Greece.

    I love that laptop setting and am hooked by your words about a troubled connection to a beautiful place. I hope to hear more.

  3. This is solid writing, you are ever the poet. I always thought persephone had the best of both worlds, ultimately, though not apparent at first glance, on her terms.

    There are places that demand so much from you, that know you so well. Like you said, unbeknowns to you, they become native lands, no matter how much you fight it. It is comfortable to always remain a detached tourist. But Greece has not allowed you that has it? I have the same issue with a land that is and is not my home. I look forward to another post which will perhaps illustrate more on this subject.

  4. willow - a fair question. i wish i could answer that simply in this comment, but it's a complex relationship between me and greece, and complex relationships often involve very strong emotions. in my initial post on this blog i touch on the issue, and it is also the focus of my ongoing memoir about returning to ithaka for 20 years.

    sarah - that is hilarious that your kids argued about the liquid/solid state of the glaze - i may never look at another pomegranate the same!

    yoli - i love what you have said here - that persephone has the best of both worlds - that is beautiful, and i've never thought of her that way.

    you have said it perfectly: There are places that demand so much from you, that know you so well.

    how powerful for you that you share such a connection with another land.

  5. Persephone - meet Poulithra! Land of the living. The pleasure is all mine. So glad you are MY sister.

  6. Your prose is so beautiful and so is that photo of the pomegranate. I know of the connection you feel with Athens because I feel it in Rome. I feel like it is a part of my very soul, a place I return to, physically or in my dreams, and always discover something wonderful about Rome and about myself.

  7. The first picture is wonderful ! rich in detail and colors, it's gorgeous ! :)
    I like the originality of the second and the good perspective !...


  8. Wow, powerful writing. Now I need to go back and re-read it..

  9. I can certainly feel your bond with Athens in your writing. That's not to say I understand it; I just feel it.

    I hope your Grecian adventure satisfies your soul.

  10. I was hooked on America (maybe Wyoming) ever since I was five and saw that movie My Friend Shane, do you know it? I told my parents I`d see that place, I just KNEW it! And I did, against all odds.
    Yes, I believe in a deeper connection with a country or a single place, or a person you meet or hear about. It is there, no explanation necessary.
    Greece sure has its dark sides, and its people are not easy to get on with, but when you understand their soul, you will be deeply rewarded, as with any relation you dig into!

  11. There is something strong that is connecting you to this country, who knows what it is. reincarnation perhaps? fun to think about (maybe!)

    it was interesting to read your older post about the basement. I wanted to be an archaeologist and studied it in college but practicality and the need to support myself got in the way. Sad, but OK. But in my next life.....

  12. Ah, I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN you would not travel so far into Europe without returning to Greece.

    I understand, all too well, this push-pull, love, hate relationship with a place. Who can really explain why it happens - but it centres, as you know, within your heart and your are a deeply passionate person...and you are strongly affected by everything dark and light that you come across. Greece resonates throughout all that is YOU!

    Like that pomegrante, your heart will flow with emotion, your soul will glow like that jewel-like fruit - and you will find a bit more of your destiny....

    I am thrilled you are "home"....

    Sending you love and strength....this will be some "reunion" dear Persephone!


    ♥ Robin ♥

  13. Amanda, I am stunned by your writing and the emotions in your prose. You carried me right to that time and place and it gave me a shiver.

    Travel safely, ma chère amie,

  14. I understand that longing for a place that is home but not. I think it's the love relationship, there are many layers to it, and maybe it's never fully understood.

    I know you'll just enjoy the ride Amanda. I wish I were meeting you and Deb there too. What were you drinking? ☺

  15. Beautiful, powerful, poetic words. Safe travels :-)

  16. sistah - you know it!! love this road trip.......!!

    loree - you said it so well --- discovering something about both the place and glad to hear you share this powerful connection with the eternal city♡

    mahon - thanks for these comments from your photographer's eye ;-)

  17. nancy - thank you kindly!♡

    r-bear - what a kind wish - and so far, this journey has been very soul satisfying......

    geli - so you have felt this kind of connection with america since you were little? i love wyoming too --- was just driving thru it this summer and marveling at how pretty it is......i have never seen that movie but am now very intrigued that you mention it - will put it on my netlflix queue!!

    i love what you said:
    but when you understand their soul, you will be deeply rewarded, as with any relation you dig into

    such wise thoughts, geli dear♡♡

  18. mim -- i am one of those who thinks reincarnation makes who knows?! i've a strong feeling that greece figured in my past lives somewhere... so i think you may be right on that one!
    oh sweet robin, i had to read your comment over a few times!!

    "you will find a bit more of your destiny".....i love this and also what you said about the parallel between the heart, soul and the pomegranate flowing and glowing.....such poetry!

    thank you for these powerful words -- i will keep them close to my heart as i continue on this 'reunion' journey!! love to you dear robin....xo

    genie - kind thanks chere amie -- and so glad this post had that effect! ;-)

  19. dear lori --- oh i wish you were here with deb and me too!! i was just thinking of you as the view from where i am now reminds me of the california coast!! maybe someday we can meet in the hold that thought!!


    p.s. i was drinking a nescafe frappe!! (they make the best ones here!)

    sara louise - kind thanks my friend♡

  20. I don't know how I missed that other post... VERY interesting!

    I would love to see Athens as you see it. Maybe one day if you are in the mood to record some of those heart and head images for posterity ;-)


  21. Lovely blog! I live part of the year in Halkidiki and also enjoy the olive harvest. Beautiful photos. What part of Greece did you harvest olives?
    I have added your blog to my list of favorites. My blog is


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