Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Own Greek Island House


I asked for humorous books, but Kim (thank-you!) led me to not only a funny story, but a beautifully written one. The author reminisces about the year (1935) he and his older siblings and widowed mother moved to the island of Corfu in Greece. While house-searching, they'd been dragged to dilapidated cottages with no bathrooms, but then a taxi driver took them to the perfect place.

From My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell:

"Mother, who had kept her eyes firmly shut throughout the (wild) drive, now opened them cautiously and looked. Spiro was pointing at a gentle curve of hillside that rose from the glittering sea. The hill and the valleys around it were an eiderdown of olive groves that shone with a fish-like gleam where the breeze touched the leaves. Halfway up the slope, guarded by a group of tall, slim cypress trees, nestled a small strawberry pink villa, like some exotic fruit lying in the greenery...

"... Roses dropped petals as big and smooth as saucers, flame red, moon white, glossy, and unwrinkled...

"... The bougainvillea that sprawled luxuriously over the tiny front balcony was hung as though for a carnival with its lantern shaped magenta flowers... The warm air was thick with the scent of a hundred dying flowers and full of the gentle soothing whisper and murmur of insects. 

"As soon as we saw it we wanted to live there--it was as though the villa had been standing there waiting for our arrival. We felt we had come home."

***

Oh wow.

And when I read this yesterday? I was sitting outside on our front porch in 56 amazing, sunny degrees, having just raked some leaves caught at our hedge's bottom trunks. In a Buffalo January! 

Yet I read this book and felt more like I'd zoomed to a glowing Greek island-- but I hadn't. No, instead of a blue sea below a pink house on a hill, I had peeks of a river down the street and new inspiration to imagine any Greek island feelings I wish about this tiny yellow Hobbit Cottage tucked inside an old, old suburb. 

Within my head--if I want--I can imagine a sea outside my windows and the coziest, book-stacked rooms inside. I need not wait for some imagined home beside a sea to appear, I need feel no discontent. If my house is lacking in what my imagination could improve, then I am to blame. 

Yes, it's up to me how I feel about my home and how I imagine its rooms to be and feel. And that is possible and quite close to magic. The nice kind.


*******

"A tranquil heart is life to the body..."  ... Proverbs 14:30


Discontentment has blocked and blacked many an imagination.

**************



We are at 61 warm (but cloudy) degrees right now (!) and, so far, I'm loving this global warming. But when summer arrives and it's hot, hot, hot, I reserve the right to change my mind. :)

********

3 comments:

Stephanie Lynn Stevens said...

I love this! I just started The Railway Children which I have (amazingly) never read before. I felt the same way. What a lovely way to let my imagination take me to the English countryside via a book! I'll have to look up the one you mentioned. I have an Amazon gift card waiting to be used and I'm trying to savor and use it wisely. :)

Terra said...

The book you mention is on my list of all time favorite books.
I just read P.G. Wodehouse's The Code of the Woosters and laughed a lot. Some people don't care for Wodehouse's humor, but it tickles my funny bone. Happy laughing ahead.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

My Family and Other Animals is lovely, but for a laugh out loud book, Durrell's Rosy is My Relative is wonderful!