The first thing we often notice in a new place is something visual, something that catches our eyes quite literally and captivates us with either delight or disgust.
I don’t count airports as a true experience of a place because they are merely transitions, entry and exit points, a meshing place for the comings and goings of people from diverse corners of the earth.
For me, the first thing I noticed when I stepped on Greek soil for the first time was the wind. It caressed my face, lifted individual strands of hair upward into the breeze, and whispered iridescent words of comfort into my ears. After an arduous journey and many stuffy moments in airports, terminals, and various aircraft of different sizes, the breeze was something of a balm to my harried soul. It touched me. Literally. If the wind could have fingers, then they stroked me, calmed me, soothed me.
When I arrived to my year’s abode, I quickly learned the secret to a cool clime. The Greeks open windows and doors to invite the invigorating current inside to cool off their houses. The wind, not air conditioners which can quickly mold and mildew the insides of stucco-like walls with their humidity, is best at diminishing the heat of the day. The doors and windows here slide open, tilt open, lean open at the tops, or swing open from the sides. I prefer at times to open mine wide up until my villa becomes a wind tunnel at every turn.
The gales here come straight inland from the Mediterranean, sweeping a refreshing hand over the inhabitants of the isle. Falcons hover in circular crescents on its gusts and swallows soar in the blustery thrusts over the grape vineyards and olive groves in hopes of snatching a tasty morsel from the air or earth below. The breeze carries their calls to my ears, reminds me of the raw freshness of the place. Distant sounds of some dog barking or a mother calling to her children brush through my windows and seduce me out onto my third floor balcony to take notice of the landscape, but I see no dogs or mothers or children. The wind simply lifts its feathery fingers and thrusts snippets of sound in my direction, gifting me with only a hint of the daily life all about me.
So I sit and wait and watch, hair whipping around my face, my skin pining for respite, as the wind secrets promises into my heart.