Lefkada Official

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Lefkada Official

Almond Harvest

Almond Harvest

It’s a late August dawn.

The sun rises between the tips of the cypresses with an orange hue that seems to convey all the fatigue accumulated by Apollo over the summer.

For the ancient deity, it’s time to extend the length of the nightly break, and also the time for necessary maintenance on his chariot.

I walk barefoot the short distance from the doorstep to the terrace railing. The floor dampened by the morning dew slips beneath my feet, as I try to make as little noise as possible.

I want Letizia and Yuki to enjoy an even slower awakening than the one put into motion by the sun.

The scent of fermenting fruit wafts through the damp vegetation, mixing with the milky mist enveloping the outline of the hills.

The multitude of rustles emanating from the tree branches signals the awakening of the daytime bird population: magpies, sparrows, and blackbirds are finally ready to reclaim the sky after playing hide-and-seek with the night’s dangerous winged predators.

For owls and nightjars, it’s time to rest.

Some late bats still dare sharp aerial acrobatics, snatching insects. Small black spots move jerkily against the backdrop of a pinkish atmosphere that lazily steals the scene from the dark cloak that until recently held the moon and stars.

Hungry bats, heedless of the risk of being devoured themselves by some morning raptor. Just yesterday, on the way back from Agios Nikitas, an eagle brushed the car windshield, holding a serpent tight in its talons.

The low clouds that adorn the rounded tops of the forested hills decide to rise from the sinuous horizon of the Sfakiota landscape.

Now, the road I’ll soon traverse to reach Lazarata’s bakery, meet the morning patrons, and have a coffee amidst complaints and curses from those who wouldn’t have wanted to get out of bed so early, is visible.

Notas will arrive after me with his squeaky blue pickup, parking it in the middle of the road. He’ll slam the door and approach slowly, gazing at the sky – “You’re here already today… always starting work so early: I saw you sweeping leaves in your yard while I was off to gather some potatoes… you do too much! I’ll grab bread and think about work later… and how’s our English friend?” – a laugh escapes me in the solitude of the terrace: Chris will also swing by the bakery, to stock up on still-warm croissants, and he’ll wink with a benevolent smile, like a wise English journalist.

Wise and compassionate.

With formalities exhausted and without too many pleasantries, Chris will ascend with brilliant British composure into his red 80s Golf convertible, which might not start again.


With the demeanor of a thoroughbred Anglo-Saxon humorist, our exiled journalist has dubbed the group of most faithful attendees of the morning gathering ‘The College of Knowledge’, and with his insightful irony, he seems to have hit the mark: here, arguments intertwine so lofty as to irk Aristotle’s followers for the complexity of the reasoning involved.

I abandon my fantasies for a while.

I rest my fingers on the terrace railing, and a watery shiver slides beneath my fingertips. Maybe it’s time to grasp the car’s steering wheel to reach my next destination, but the desire to stay here, spying on the sun until blinded by it, and continue wandering with a still sleepy mind, is stronger than the caffeine waiting for me.

Andreas, the bakery owner, will be ready to chide once again his most loyal customers with his – “I’m feeling like crap today too!” – maneuvering paper cups brimming with coffee from behind the espresso machine counter, or handing out bags stuffed with all sorts of goodies, leaning over the bread and pastries showcase.

“If you stop for coffee outside, leave the receipt on the table: I don’t want trouble with the taxman!”

Zois will react by crumpling the paper proofs of payment to toss them into an ashtray brimming with cigarette butts, then emptying it into the advertising trash can for ice cream.

“Screw the taxman!”

He’ll laugh, rubbing his bald head, and squeeze his still sleep-blurred blue eyes.

A warmth spreads in my lower abdomen, it’s like feeling hunger for an immaterial food.

Once again, the sensation of needing to fill a void… and I know well what it is.

I wish I were the universe at the moment it invented Greece without worrying about narrating it… I’m on the verge of reaching this divination, but I’m still not there.

My inner critic seizes every opportunity and manifests by curling my lips in a self- disdainful grin. It suggests using rougher tones, at least when talking to myself. My response is: when will you stop being a pain in the neck?


To be continued…


Luke Patsimas

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