Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Page from the Past

Something reminded me today of an experience we had on Europe Semester, and I felt like putting down this excerpt (slightly expounded upon) from my email to friends and family describing it...

October 2003

The last day in Greece, by the way, can't go without mentioning...we traveled by bus from Athens out to Mycenae and Corinth. We stood right where Paul was judged by the council of Corinth, and we read some of his letters to the Corinthians from the New Testament there too. Where we were standing, upon these ruins of stone that have since comingled with grass and trees, ancient civilization played out; merchants sold, prisoners were sentenced, prostitutes persuaded, and children played. It was really too much to grasp. My name is Greek, and essentially was born of this place. Magnificent.

Then we went to this ancient amphitheatre in Epidaurus. As we hiked up through a landscape that was by far more green than any we had yet seen in Greece, we started to feel large drops of rain fall upon us. Once we reached the half-circle outdoor amphitheatre the drops had officially become a downpour. We had been traveling all day, and often confined to stand in one area as our guide shared detail after detail of these places we were visiting, and with the rain I believe came a sensation throughout the group that there was no more room for confinement and structure. Not many moments had passed until all of us had thrown concern for keeping dry to the wind, and were climbing up the marble steps, having left both our bags and our dumbfounded tour guide under a tree. Then there was thunder and lightening, and we just stood with hands outstretched, looking out over the forest, getting drenched, and laughing all the while. I believe I will remember this moment for all of my life.

Professor Vandermey began to read some pieces from the play Beowulf to us, standing in the center of the stage, rain pelting his glasses, but arms dramatically gesticulating and voice raised to compete with the thunder. He was determined not to let the rain keep him from taking full advantage of the opportunity to read aloud this ancient bit of literature that was likely performed in that amphitheatre so many centuries ago. And again, like so many times on this trip, my mind is doing backbends attempting to juxtapose the modern scene that we are creating in a setting so ancient, with so many scenes played out before us.


Lesley Miller said...

This indeed was one of the best days on Europe Semester and you sum it up so beautifully. I think there were multiple times on that trip where I felt somewhat confined by time/tour guides/classes, etc. That day we all went with our gut instincts to dance and laugh and lose control for a brief moment...and no one regretted it except for stupid Anthony the tour guide. I still harbor bitterness towards him. :)

Thanks for the lovely memory. Can you believe it's been almost five years since then?

*corinne said...

i can't believe it's been five years. we are due for some more europe, wouldn't you say.