No Nature without Culture


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Ophelias

♦ This is the *Angelolivada* (river pool of 😳 angelic // XD diabolic fairies) near Nas.
This pool was my first introduction to the sweet waters of Ikaria several years ago. Then I got myself better shoes and found better places. But still when I see it I can’t help taking a picture.
This pool is *heritage* (because it IS haunted and legends about lethal encounters with fairies survive to this day).
This pool is a *sight* (seen from close, the fall is HIGH and the pool is BIG -even though it’s lost almost half its size from stones and earth sliding down from the road above.)
This pool is *sweet water* (rare stuff in the Aegean)
This pool is a *pool* (you can swim in it.)

It shouldn’t be left like this as if it was *nothing*. Yet it is. In spite it’s only 300 m. away from a small tourist resort, Nas. The beach of which is very small and unapproachable in high seas. To say more, it seems that people do their best to destroy it.
Yet the pool resists (because it IS haunted).

And Ikaria will probably always remain *an unspoiled island*, as the hotel & tourist promoter claims.
Unspoiled means perhaps that piles of waste and rubble, abandoned wrecked cars, forever unfinished contructions and weird contraptions everywhere, goats competing with earthmovers to *shave* the best places … for nothing … not for money …just for nothing …because someone had *small idea* and why not after all? All this for me is not *unspoiledt-ness*. It’s just *lack of communication*, *selfishness*, *ignorance* and *confusion*.
I wish we were a little bit *spoilt* into common sense.
Fairies can’t do all the job by themselves (+pay for beds+breakfast too?…)
Or perhaps they can; I wouldn’t know.

What I know is that
NATURE CAN’T BE WITHOUT CULTURE
(What we call *Nature* is a human invention, no?)
*NO CULTURE* or *WRONG CULTURE* = NO NATURE

«Sometimes I feel like a motherless child» again. (I was a motherless child)
Sometimes I feel I can’t return to *the crazy island* because there’s just the craziness and the fun is gone. But then again my heart is strong (unlike my mother’s) and the *good craziness* and the fun is in mE.

I am looking at the waterfall

I’ll deliver… 🙄

Comments

(4 total)

(What we call *Nature* is a human invention, no?)

No I think not. It is what it is, completely indifferent to humanity, and so we destroy it instead of embracing it.

I have faith in you, since embrace it you do.

Friday June 16, 2006 – 07:45am (PDT)

To be honest El, we both chose to fall for a very compicated and difficult island and we suffer the consequences. How many times haven’t I told myself to fall in love with Mykonos/Ibiza instead. They are so easy like Lego and PlayMobil : white cubes laid on dry brown land and lots of (set up) parties with paid brazilian dancers…
But nooo ! Oooh, how deadly boring would that be !…

*Nature* is birth and death, both hardly conceivable. We see nature through culture. We used to have God to help us. Now we have to deal with it by ourselves. So culture becomes very important. But what am I talking about? Wasn’t it you who asked and received this genius answer about the mountains of Sezanne in southern France? His multiple paintings of the same and the same landscape actually saved the landscape. And we don’t have to discuss how heavy the building activity is in the South of France (no? -lol).
So go on being the Sezanne of Ikaria. Who knows? It may work.
As for myself I’ll go on digging and putting back the stones in place. Nail many signs too, so that you find your way and take your pictures.

P.S. good news ! ((: – I found an assistant – :)) It’s my 10 y.o. daughter. I pay her in ice-creams.
See her at work in my Flickr soon.

Friday June 16, 2006 – 08:58pm (EEST)

I knew of only one Cezanne’s «Montagne Sainte Victoire». The landscape could be anywhere in the Mediterranean, ok, but half of the results are Cezanne’s paintings. The rest are contemporary photos and other paintings.
(Any resemblance with Ikaria is purely coincidental)

That aristocratic *tall fat guy* Cezanne has really put a strong mark and actually saved that land -:)) He painted again and again the view from his villa and now the paintings have fused so much with the mountain (and the plain in-between) that nOoNe dAREs to touch this landscape!

See also : Wiki: Cezanne

I think they should teach this case in Fine Arts or Environmental Studies.
The tourist business (type «tourtour» -this is a village) benefited a lot and apparently many people find work. Cezanne has created a «tourist legend» too.

Is this *good machine», Nana?

Saturday June 17, 2006 – 12:44pm (PDT)

Bonjour *Paul(-ine) Cézanne* ! Comment ça va? 🙂
Oui, c’est une *trés bonne machine*. But people have to be informed and educated. And Ikaria is very unspoiled as far as this is concerned… 😦

Sunday June 18, 2006 – 03:14pm (EEST)

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***ENVIRO-LORE


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(not folk-lore)

this is what I’m doing with my photos. All of sudden I felt the urge of shouting this out.I do ENVIRO-LORE : the stories inside the environment ~ geography animated as I would tell it as a story to a kid. My landscapes are not «empty». Once upon a time they were inhabited. Now they are waiting to be inhabited again.  Never mind if it’s only for the summer.

So the creek waits for the hiker to cross it and wet his sweaty front. The lonely cove waits for les amoureux. The forest waits for the drunk to sleep after a long night’s fiest. The high rock waits for the daring climber to pose on top and wave the banner of his pride. The angry sea waits for the calm and for the windsurfer to do his tricks. The high mountains wait for me and my friends to go there and shout «iiiiii», sometimes whisper «OM» or sometimes dance the rock’n roll.

I do ENVIRO-LORE here and now. Move on, move on.

The lonely anonymous cove used to have a name in the time of my great-grand father. I’m sure he saw it and said : «nice fish place», or «nice place to hide my little boat».

To Imageme (and Nana and many other *beautiful monsters*) it says: «nice green water; let’s take our clothes off and dive» or «let’s sit behind this funny rock and I’ll tell you a secret«.

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http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/14703744/sn/828040346/name/n_a

I do ENVIRO-LORE.

Secrets.

The more there are, the more there are.

Οσο πιο πολλα ειναι, τοσο πιο πολλα γινονται.

Τοσο πιο καλα ειναι.Image

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Comments

 

Weave it into a song rhapsodos.

Thursday April 27, 2006 – 01:47pm (PDT)

Agree with the above. Your manifesto moved me, sister-oula. I’ll send you one of my own. It’s about & for the Greek hikers so it will be in Greek only.
Hope you like it, and maybe you reproduce it as an entry in your blog.
BTW, other nations of bipeds out there, there is a name for the long distance hikers. I was told once and then I forgot. «Long-hikers», «tan-hikers», «(?)-hikers». Someone may know. LooOOng distance «cross country», days and nights …oooo

Friday April 28, 2006 – 06:52pm (EEST)

Amen El! Enviro-lore is my favorite lore to hear or read, so let’s all gather round the campfire and share stories.

 

Friday April 28, 2006 – 01:19pm (EDT)

haha -I just asked a friend visiting me and he said that this type of hikers should be called:
*πεζοποροι πετσι & κοκαλο* (=only skin & bone hikers)  🙂  <ikarian humour>
But «thru-hikers» is the correct term. I’ve met a couple of those and they were like ascetics, though very young.
(oh no, Nana please don’t…)
There will be more on ENVRIRO-LORE. I had seized the concept long ago but I’ve just invented a word for it. Thanks Ψ for being the first to approve)

Friday April 28, 2006 – 10:54am (PDT)

what «Appalachian trail» goes through Ikaria?
Quote: «No island is an island». Besides Bouconne forest, which other places your trail goes through? In other words, imagine there was no such place called Ikaria and we saw you photos without «tag Ikaria» or «Ikaria #1,2,3…», where would we think this place was?
(I’m asking because I know that you are traveller, or better, «a dreamer of places»).

Sunday April 30, 2006 – 11:39pm (EEST)

Just for interest – I have never heard this term «through-hiker», but then we don’t have such long trails in Britain – like Ikaria, we run out of island too soon – so I think we only have «long distance hikers».

Monday May 1, 2006 – 08:14pm (BST)

The looks of these people… and the strong ties between them. I’m afraid to go on because I don’t want to put ideas in Nana’s head. She is too skinny already. Or is this good for this kind of adventure?
A Greek island’s landscape is very different and demanding. I have seen Swiss who boast as «mountain eaters»  being near (body AND mind) apoplexy hiking in these lands. The sun and the light and the rocks and the changes e.t.c.

Monday May 1, 2006 – 12:32pm (PDT)

I know how they feel. There is an added something in the rocks of Ikaria too. Does things to the head….and the needle of my compass. But it is magnetic and addictive too I think….like your blog.

Tuesday May 2, 2006 – 12:04am (BST)

Αν περπατήσουμε όλο το μήκος της Ικαρίας από το Δράκανο μέχρι τον Κάβο Πάπα θα πάρουμε τον τίτλο «thru-hikers»? Εννοώ χωρίς να κατεβαίνουμε στα χωριά για τη νύχτα. Εντελώς «through», through-out through. Ή μήπως θα αγιάσουμε και στο τέλος θα γίνουμε διάφανοι? Διότι άλλο skinny και άλλο να γίνεις «see through», χα χα
Πάντως πρέπει να είναι τρομερή εμπειρία.
>If we walk the whole length of the mountain range of Ikaria from Drakano to Cape Papas would we win the tile «thru-hikers»? I mean w/o coming down for meals and to spend the night in the villages. Given the roughness and the changes in landscape, the height and the views, it must be a terrific experience. 3-4 days? I’m thnking about this for the summer.

@Ψαλάκανθ娨 as a backacker you will probably have the chance to discover the meaning of the term «island-hopper». A (not very warm) sleeping bag is a ‘must’, as well as the ability to sleep on hard benches in ports and ferries. For me this makes a civilized man: the ability to feel at home and sleep anywhere.

Tuesday May 2, 2006 – 12:50pm (EEST)

When I worked on Ikaria for two summers I had to travel in the night to Samos once a week. I used to be an «island hopper» for a few hours – re-living my first Greek experience – sleeping on the open deck, on a bench, in my «not very warm» sleeping bag. My company would pay for a cabin if I wanted one, but I always preferred the fresh air and the sound of the engines lulling me to sleep and waking up with the taste of salt on my lips.

Tuesday May 2, 2006 – 12:44pm (BST)

Haha, Nana! Civilized indeed.. check out this picture for what is probably the most «civilized» moment of my life:

Too Long

I think that definitely qualifies as thru-hiking 🙂 However, as far as the qualifications for saint-hood (that is what αγιάζω means, right?)…

Tuesday May 2, 2006 – 07:56am (EDT)

thank you everybody ! This is what ENVIRO-LORE is about.

An appealing & inviting *wildereness*.

Tuesday May 2, 2006 – 01:32pm (PDT)


Eleni in Ikaria -January 19, 2006


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Good evening readers!

Though I wasn’t able to take a shot of the full moon the other day, I went for a hike and found many beautiful waters the following morning.

Ikarian Mountain stream
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After that I have been very angry and tense during the last 28 hours.
For starters I tried to html my photos into this blog and it didn’t work. I thought I’d blast it, then I changed my mind.

~~~ This is just another blog, that’s what it is after all. Masterpieces aren’t made for free. ~~~~ 😉


Then my cat came back from her all night wild sex orgies and she gave me a blank look («how stupid of you to think that we know each other».) She emptied her bowl though, and I was pleased, so I didn’t kill her.

I’m jealous of my cat.

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My cat Felicia is horny

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All of a sudden the sky cleared up around noon yesterday and I rushed out to take photos. Some came out all right but I forgot myself out there in the fields and so I burnt my lunch ! Fortunately I hadn’t invited anyone. I met my cat in the fileds («who might you be, misses«?) and she let me take one (1) photo of hers

(«I should have charged you 10 euros for that, but I don’t feel like making money today».)

After eating my (burnt) lunch I worked in the garden for a while until the «sorocco», the mad southeastern wind started blowing from the mountaintops. I don’t mind sorocco much because it’s warm, but this time it was cold. So I got back indoors and spent some time on the computer writing my stuff. I also prepared the photos. There was one with a blooming almond tree loaded with an also blooming parasite plant like an ivy and it was such a success. But when I tried to lower the analysis so that I was able to post it in Flickr, the whole composition blurred and the colors fused into each other. I don’t want to upload photos of a size over 130 KB. In other countries they have fast connections even at home, but in Greece the system and the lines are poor and most internet users go on 30.000 bps. Connections also are very expensive.
So if I want my pictures to be seen by the Greeks I have to keep them small and fast. So I’m not posting my tree pic -just another one of those things of today.

St Athanassios Name day: Greeks celebrate their name days, that is the day the church celebrates the saint whose name they were given when they were baptized. I was baptized and named Eleni in a Greek orthodox church in Brussels Belgium. The priest plunged me naked (I was a baby, ok?) three times in the water in a bronze basin looking like a xxxxl old fashioned wine cup. I cried my lungs out and so I became a Christian. From then on my name day is Sts Constantine and Helen’s day on May the 21st.
That was a parenthesis.
So I visited two friends who are she-Athanassios, that is they are named
Athanassia. (Girls can have names of male saints, but not the opposite. Boys aren’t given the names of female saints. For example, although my name is very common, I never met a Greek man called Elenos. The Greeks are very aware that the male sex is unstable and tends to alter. This is why I think they don’t give their baby-boys female saint names, in case they do not grow up to be men but women.)
In one of the two Athanassias’ house I met some people who were hysteric about the bird flu. I had had a couple of stiff drinks, so I was stupid enough not to just say chk-chk-chk and po-po-po but to engage in the conversation.
I said that there was nothing that we should be afraid of because we do not share our houses with the chickens as in some retarded areas of Anatolia or Indonesia, our children play nintendos and not with ducklings in the pools and we have refrigerators so we don’t have to carry live birds around as presents or to the market. It was stupid of me to say these things. People knew all that already and my speech made them feel I was a know-all foreign bitch.
The real reason for their anxiety wasn’t the bird flu but the fact that the people of Ikaria feel (and are) far away from the government in Athens.

They are always afraid that the government would prove inefficient in an
emergency.

However I don’t think there will be an emergency. I have traveled to Turkey and I have seen what the situation is like outside tourist resorts…
As I was feeling tense, a clearly good thing happened: I started exchanging
e-mails with a German hobby botanist who is planning a trip to Ikaria. He visited the island many years ago when there were no paths or directions or anything, a time when local people advised the nature lovers to walk on the main roads so that they wouldn’t get lost or tired. I wrote just for the fun of talking about plants as well as to assure him that this time his visit will be successful -the paths of Ikaria and especially the ones in the way they were re-designed in Rahes, were not planned just for sportspeople or as an alternative to the beach on a stormy day. They lead or run across places. I mean real meaningful ‘places’ -interesting sites. I hope my German friend writes to us a short report from his botanical trip to Ikaria. We do not have any in the file «environment» of
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hikingIkaria .
I also received a few nice comments under my photos at Flickr.
Even that old ‘pink’ beach shot of mine

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attracted attention, oh my.
Now it’s foggy and raining. There was a short blackout too. We rather suffer
from electric pole flu. I felt like screaming, but the power came back soon after.
I turned on the comp and I’m sending out this blog.

Γεια σας τωρα
Αυριο η μεθαυριο παλι
Ελενη

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Comments

(4 total)

Go ahead and upload big photos to flickr! They resize them so that nobody downloads the big versions unless they click the «all sizes» button. Some of mine are > 2mb.

Thursday January 19, 2006 – 07:32pm (EST)

to Ψ : I’ll try to do what you say, but you also have to consider that my computer and my phone line is no better than what one would expect to find in a ‘barn’

Saturday January 21, 2006 – 01:24pm (PST)

Στις πηγές του Μύρσωνα είναι τα νερά;
Σε πειράζει να βγάλω ένα μονοπάτι μέχρι εκεί;
Έχει πολλά κατσίκια εκεί γύρω;

Friday January 20, 2006 – 10:50pm (EET)

Μα εχει μονοπατι, σημαδεμενο με σωρους απο πετρες.
Ναι εχει πολλα κατσικια. Λιγο λιγο θα τα φανε ολα και μετα το βουνο θα πεσει κατω ! Ηδη ολα τα ρυακια ειναι γεματα χαλικια και αμμο.
Καλα, δεν υπαρχει αλλη δουλεια να κανει κανεις στην Ικαρια απο το να εξαπολυει ελευθερα κατσικια στα πιο ωραια μερη και να τα τρωνε ! ΤΑ ΤΡΩΝΕ, ΛΕΜΕ!

Overgrazed Ikarian mountain Atheras

Saturday January 21, 2006 – 01:14pm (PST)

Τhere’s great news about this ! Your instinct brought you to a very remarkable place. Somewhere on a hilltop between the three streams which unite to make Myrsonas you must have ran across several old houses, didn’t you?
These houses are of the 17th century or earlier. Stray goats use them for shelter now and destroy their remarkable stone-made walls and roofs (goats can do that all right -everybody knows that). Anyway, this is the long searched for ‘lost village’ (το χαμένο χωριό). As I wrote in my testimonial for you in Flickr (and thank you for accepting it) Ikaria ‘opens inwards’ not outwards and this was a good example. I discovered it by chance while I was trying to draw a possible new long distance trail across this strange area (I shall call it ‘the sources of Myrsonas -as «sources of the Nile» -Livingstone forgives). I found and followed some very old (almost completely erased) red marks on the ground and some stone piles here and there.
Simon (you know who) sent me several BW photos of the houses of the lost village. I suppose you took pictures too when you were there. If so, even if they are not good enough, please post them in your blog. Σε παρακαλώ πολύ. If you don’t feel like, don’t waste time to write anything under each one. You ‘ve done already so much. I’ll make the comments if that’s ok with you.

waiting…

Monday January 23, 2006 – 11:02pm (EET)

I obey, master
I live to serve

Tuesday January 24, 2006 – 02:46am (PST)