Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Apple Drawer

This blog is called The Apple Drawer, in memory of my grandmother, who died many years ago and who I miss more and more as the years go by. She used to always keep an apple in her bedside table drawer and when I'd open it surreptitiously to look for sweets, a wonderful, fresh smell would waft up to me, as if the drawer were somehow hiding a sunny meadow in some old, dark, wooden corner, instead of old papers and coins.

There were many wise little things like that which my gran did and knew about but didn't have time to properly pass down to me before she died. A wealth of knowledge, wisdom and culture was lost, never to be retrieved.

My blog will record a journey, or try to. I am going to go back to the place where my grandmother was born. There in her sleepy little village in the south of Greece, she learned to cook beans, grow flowers and get by in a man's world. That's where her unquenchable spirit was forged and her love of God grew into an almost daily obsession. That's where she lost a child, watched the Nazis overtake her town, raised two sons and waved goodbye to one of them, not knowing if she would ever see him again.

I can visit my grandmother's grave, here in Australia, any time I like. It's great for someone who likes to keep the marble looking clean and shiny and the flowers tended. But I want more. I want to sit once more on the ground where she was sitting when she was dreaming her secret dreams at my age. I want to feel her spirit, which is so tied to the spirit of her native land, so that I can't think of one without the other. So I'm planning to board a plane to Greece in March and visit her humble home one last time. The first time was as a child: no thoughts of anything but to swim and play. The second time brought culture shock, as I realised this was not a place that catered to the whims of a university student. The third time, I am hoping, will be lucky. I am hoping to find her spirit there and with it, meaning for my own life and future.