Our first week of our Greek government-enforced self-isolation, self-distancing, self-protection - whatever name you want to call it -- has come to a close in The Mani.
|Our village Agios Nikolaos last year|
The Mani is that slice of the rural Peloponnese we've called our 'other home' for the last two years. It is that rural area where we focus on olive crops and fishing most of the year and brace for the onslaught of tourists that fill our villages and clog our streets during the warm weather's 'high season'.
|High Season when tourists filled our village - 2019|
This year we realize as the high season is fast approaching, that it may actually be one of the lowest ever. Or maybe it will be back to normal. That is one of the more unsettling things about this time in Greece - not knowing what to expect of our future. Or when life might return to the 'old normal'. I suspect the same could be said for many places in the world and if one were to spend too much time pondering those questions I would likely be writing of madness, not magic.
|The fishing fleet last fall - Agios Nikolaos|
I am happy to report that there are no signs of madness here. Our friends and neighbors - both Greeks and expats -- are carrying on as normally as one can when the world is slightly askew. The olive groves are being tended just as they always are this time of year. And a few fishing boats are still setting forth daily just as dusk arrives - just as they have always done. Not the usual fleet, mind you, as restaurants, tavernas, and cafes for the most part remain closed.
|Going out for a glass of wine in this 'new world'|
On the surface this may all sound rather mundane. Especially when I tell you that we still have toilet paper for sale and there are no lines forming at our grocery stores. In fact, a grocery in a neighboring village is offering home delivery to those who can't or prefer not to leave their homes. A few tavernas and cafes stay open despite the diminished business, offering only take out food and drink.
Going out for a glass of wine and dinner has taken on a new look as we sip wine from a plastic glass while waiting for the food to be prepared and packaged for home. Of course we stand two meters from each other while waiting. You might say mundane, tinged with magic.
|Exercising is allowed on the lockdown - this is an old kalderimi near us|
The 'lockdown' has been easy to comply with: prior to leaving our home, we text the government our intended destination (grocery store) or reason (exercise), our name and our address. In return we get an approval text - a Greek word that basically means 'movement'. It hasn't been that taxing a task. . .it just takes a bit to remember to do it. But then we don't use it very often. A trip to the grocery store once or twice a week. . .or to take out food or drink . . .or to go for a walk or hike. Some days go past and we realize we've not been outside our garden's gate.
It appears our two-week 'lock down' will now extend past Greek Easter, April 19th.
In Greece Easter is a big deal. It is when city folks return to their family's roots and celebrate the holiday in small villages in the mainland and on the islands. Villages and islands that aren't equipped to handle a potential wave of COVID-19. The government has extended the lockdown and said no travel. No gatherings. And it is probably a pretty good idea.
Greece is currently holding the line on COVID-19. New cases are announced daily, hospitalizations and death statistics continue to grow. But more siga, siga, (slowly, slowly), here in comparison to neighboring countries like Spain and Italy. We hope to keep those numbers low and slow!
|The Stone House on the Hill olive grove stairs|
Thanks to FB friends who've planted the idea, I've come to think of this 'lock down' as 'me time' or 'found time'. We remarked yesterday at how fast the days go by. Spring is definitely here with those mundane but magical garden and grove chores -- weeding, planting, cutting -- to do.
As I began writing today I couldn't help but notice my red and white Martis peeking out from my shirt sleeve. I've worn it since the first of March, as is tradition here.
|This bracelet may have magic but it certainly has memories|
These little woven or braided bracelets are made of yarn or thread; their name Martis is March in Greek. They are worn to welcome Spring. According to folklore they also serve to keep us from getting sunburned in the spring sun. The red, they say, is for rosy cheeks and white for fair skin.
In theory we take them off on March 31st, today in Greece. And while I am not superstitious, and don't know if its protective qualities are really working, in practice I plan to keep wearing it. It will remind me of a strange mundane time in The Mani that was tinged with just a bit of magic.
We hope you and yours continue to be well and safe. Our wishes to you and as always thanks for being with us. We'd love to keep up with you and your world, so add a comment or send an email!
Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
My Corner of the World Wednesday