December Reflections….

december_reflectionsBright sunshine, yet the rolling, crashing waves made it chilly to be right by the sea. A few steps away, across the road to Studios Yiorgos, and I could sit well out of any breeze and soak up early December warmth while resting a particularly painful foot. Ginger, the stalker stray cat with dreams of an upgrade to pet, followed, and for a while we shared the blissful moment. He purred out his happiness, rubbed against my legs, rolled about, and – overjoyed as he was – sunk his superbly sharp claws into the aforementioned foot. What followed, understandably, was a rapid ending to our bonding process and my relaxation plans were abandoned….for that day anyway.
 
The weeks were progressively warmer and sunny interludes in the garden regularly possible……. with cat protection in place….. I find that waving a small branch serves the purpose well if I want to sit and avoid the risk of (further!) injury. Rainy days were less frequent; there were a few when the crusted sea spray was usefully lashed from my windows. Yet, by the end of the month the mini-lake puddles along from here that formed mostly during November, were well dried up. Spring-like foliage flourished in gardens and countryside alike, basically anywhere that roots can take hold something can grow….a good month that spoiled us with many exceptionally perfect days.
What’s that I hear?……
 
Is that all we get for December, did you say?? No updates for us on the flowering daisies and nasturtiums? Or about the bulging, ripening oranges and lemons glistening in the bright sunshine, and the temptation to grab one as you drive past? Or about snow disappearing from the mountains? No tales of the darting kingfishers or a carefully poised heron on the rocks? Or that socks and hot water bottles were abandoned and left to sulk in a corner??…..nah…nothing……
…but if you insist……
 
december_paleochora……Immediately after my last post I was challenged to join friends for a Christmas Eve swim on the sandy beach. ‘Great’, I thought grumpily ….. ‘I’ve barely slept’ (night duty with Yiorgos granny)… ‘ There’s still so much work to do for the Christmas food orders’….. I could have moaned on for hours! But I didn’t. The day was stunning and my mood bold. Eventually found where I’d packed up the bikini; changed, grabbed a towel and, giggling, dashed out before allowing the doubting gremlins to hijack my mind. Until I hit the water I wasn’t exactly sure I’d follow through on the impulse. It was incredible. I could have stayed in much longer but food service time approached and reluctantly I left the calm and reasonably warm sea to get back to work. There are times while swimming, in my mind I could be flying – feel so light and free…..It’s the same when I ice-skate. Not much of that in Paleochora! About once a year I get a chance when in Scotland, to wobble, then, after a while to glide around an ice rink. Once the knees, ankles and hips stop aching and complaining and I’ve figured out the idiots to avoid (no judgement whatsoever there…) something will take over, maybe only for one circuit but that’s enough, it’s magical….. the ice, the awful boots, the tinny music ….and an easy gliding where nothing heavy lies on my shoulders…..nothing else but that freedom exists. It’s my, now not so secret, indulgence when on a family visit. Not, so far, possible this winter……
 
new_ways_paleochoraSo, I guess I need to keep up with the swimming. As I write, mid-January, I’ve been in the sea for 5 winter swims, each time colder than the last……in fact I’ve known ice cubes warmer than today’s dip. I could feel my poor toes and fingers going numb, but still an excitement and enjoyment flowed in the non-hypothermic parts!
On our daily dog walk we cut through a piece of land, necessary since a new building went up blocking the previous way. A narrow path is now evident between the growing grasses and flowers, each time I look at it reminds me that we’re making that path by simply repeating a habit….The dog walk can be a chore some days – there may be other things I’d rather be doing, but the dogs need the time and when I’m open to being reasonable I appreciate that I also need the time. It’s the same with the cold water swim – I’ll have to persevere in order to create a habit….. ahem…. only if I continue to achieve a semblance of pleasure from the experience! Another advantage is that it keeps me out of the way of that terrorising, stalking Ginger!
 
It’s been a year of offering these regular monthly posts, still scary when initially approaching a blank screen – scarier than the stray cat, the blister making skating boots or the cold sea. So often I start off not knowing if I have anything to say. At some point, after persevering and procrastinating, fingers will take over – flying freely across the keyboard and guiding me through to sharing a portion of Paleochora life…. a snapshot of my life in Paleochora that is.
 
Flora, 19th January 2021