As I started this article, my intention was to present to the world the aestetic and environmental value of the limestone surfaces, crests and cliffs in a very special part of «Atheras», the ridge which makes the backbone of my island, Ikaria. This part is called «Pounta», a hellenized Italian word used by old seamen to describe a sticking out edge or protrusion of rocks like a promontory into the sea.
But after writing a few words, I changed my mind. I had to change my approach on the subject. You see, the landscape of Pounta is not at all «beautiful» in the common understanding of the word. Nor is the environmental value of this endless succession of barren, fragmented and cragged surfaces an easy thing to explain to a broad public. You see (again), along the irregular leaning pyramids of Pounta there is no water and none but very few weather beaten trees, the vegetation being restricted to thorny spurges of all kinds and sizes growing in the gaps between the limestone slabs.
It’s a nothingness, an emptiness, an inhospitable rocky wilderness.
But on the other hand, it’s one of the most impressive (read, majestic) landscapes I’ve seen in my life.
I’ve read that otherworldly landscapes like this were shaped by the movement of ancient glaciers. I can understand that for mt Olympus, but glaciers in Ikaria?! Glaciers in the Aegean Sea?! Well, if you want my opinion, I prefer this explanation than no explanation at all. After all, we had dwarf mammoths and rhinos 50.000 years ago. Why couldn’t we have had glaciers as well?
Anyway, my point here isn’t hard science. My point is the effect these landscapes can have to the soul of the traveller -in this case, the hiker.
I’ve already written about it when I blogged on a similarly dramatic landscape in another side of the island. It was one of the most destitude and wildest places I know, but – oh my God! – so spectacular! There I experienced strong feelings of anchoritism, like a voice calling me to escape from the worldly turmoil and settle for the rest of my life among dark hanging rocks on one side and the blue immensity on the other.
Now, as I crossed Pounta for the first time (that was in 2006) I experienced a similar, though somehow different feeling. It wasn’t about God; it was about me, as a human being. I felt brave and I felt strong and I felt persistent and decisive. Especially when few years after I tried the crossing again and the weather – as it usually happens up there – switched to gale and blew upon us thick blankets of vapor and dence sheets of fog.
In one word, I felt indomitable. 🐲
I love all the wild untamable landscapes of my island. By challenging my fears and reservations, they have strengthened my character through the years and helped me evolve to a more self-confident and more independent person.
However, in spite of their timeless, unshakeable appearance, limestone crests and cliffs like Pounta are very complicated and extremely fragile landscapes. Human activities of a gigantic industrial scale, such as the rumored installation of 110 mega-size wind turbines, would totally anihilate their actual high quality. An industrial eolian plant on mt Atheras would devastate Pounta. The prodigious ammount of excavations needed to install these monsters will sooner than later turn its proud crests to mere piles of gravel – piles of gravel rolling and dropping on our heads!
But enough with words. Just below you can see a choice of photos from a recent hiking day trip across the limestone crests of Pounta taken by my friends the OPS Ikarians.
I chose them from 1) Flickr, 2) Google, and 3) the photos contained in the Google map of the hike. If you like this visual evidence and therefore, you think like me that this very special landscape should stay untouched by capitalist piracy, please consider signing the petition! 📜
Afterword: This was eventually one more article about the landscapes of Ikaria with a stress on the mountainous nature of the island. I wonder when I will post another one. I do hope that I’ll do that soon, though. All I know right now is that the land is closing in for winter and everybody is picking olives …
Eleni Ik ❤
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
WTF is this word? 😵 ❓ ❓
According to YourDictionary: Oasification
«The process of restoring water, soil, and plant life to an environment that has been degraded by soil erosion.»
According to the Wikipedia: Oasification
«In hydrology, oasification is the antonym to desertification by soil erosion. This technique has limited application and is normally considered for much smaller areas than those threatened by desertification.»
«To help the oasification process, engineers aim to develop a thriving dense woody plant cover to redress the hydrological, edaphic and botanical degradation affecting a slope.»
According to writer F. R. Chateaubriand: Oasification
«Forest precedes Man and desert follows him. Thus has ocurred with many civilizations that we know, settled in arid and semiarid territories. However, desertification is not an irreversible and hopeless process. In this new millenium we must be able to find the solutions to the problems that we generate. Against desertification: Oasification!»
According to the declaration of the three Ikarian Associations mentionned
at the end of my previous article «The little house in the desert»
«Besides that, again with our voluntary work, we intend to fence an area of at least 8.000 square meters around the shelter in order to protect it from the goats. This way, we will allow at least a small part of the overgrazed, eroded and almost desertified mountain plateau to grow green again like it was in the past.»
«Among the benefits resulting from this [project will be] the awakening of the local community concerning the desertification of the mountain volume of Ikaria through creating a visitable framed green space where endemic species will grow. This way, it will be proven in practice that this phenomenon and its disastrous effects (flashfloods, landslides, impoverishment of the soil) is not a natural, inevitable process but something that started for specific reasons [only] few decades ago and therefore, there is a way to stop it.»
«But most of all, what we want to do is to show with a project of our own -no matter its smallness- the great love we feel for our mountain, its freedom and its wild beauty.»
Well, they’ve done it!!!! Against all odds (bureaucracy, indifference, fatalism, pessimism and hostile goat barons) on Sunday, September 24, more than 40 young local people gathered on the mountain and after several hours of hard work, they secured an area of 8.000 square meters around the old mountain shelter on Ammoudia plateau with a long line of welded wire mesh panels.
They ‘ve done it! Look at them at work! You can tell from the pictures which are all first quality, the feelings of joy and fulfillment shared by the participants. I am so glad I’ve helped in my own small way to this project. If things go well -and I have every reason to thnk they will- in less than 3 years, instead of that depressive, although sometimes also impressive, goat desert, we will have an oasis!
Notice: The gallery above is made up of 56 pictures I discovered in three posts at the OPS Ikarias Google+ page. They redirected me to three of their facebook posts: the first one, containing 12 pictures taken by my friend Angelos, the second and the third one containing a total of 44 pictures, taken by our friends from Italy, Paola and Ivo, founders of the association «Η ‘δική μας’ Ικαρία».
All pictures © OPSIkarias & DikimasIkaria 2017
For the title of this article I am gratedul to
who looked up the meaning of the term «oasification» for me and
suggested that it would be more appropriate to describe the project
of fencing instead of the akward «fencing against desertification»
which wouldn’t make much sense to a reader who is not familiar
with our strange island and its strange problems.
Πριν λίγες μέρες με αφορμή ένα ποστ δικό μου στο facebook όπου διατύπωνα κάποιες σκέψεις σχετικά με την αναπάντεχη, πολύ μεγάλη δημοφιλία που είχε μια φωτογραφία που τράβηξα αμέσως μόλις την ανέβασα στο Φλικρ, προσκλήθηκα εδώ από τη σεβαστή οικοδέσποινα για να γράψω, αν ήθελα, περισσότερα για το θέμα, δηλαδή τη «μαγεία των μικρών μυστηριωδών πραγμάτων», όπως ήταν ο τίτλος του ποστ μου στο FB. Μου ζήτησε επίσης να βάλω μαζί και μια προπέρσινη φωτογραφία ενός κοινού μανιταριού που αναφέρω στο ποστ, η οποία κι αυτή, τότε που την ανέβασα, γνώρισε την ίδια σχεδόν στιγμιαία δημοφιλία, μάλλον για παρόμοιους, αν και περισσότερο κατανοητούς σε μένα λόγους. Ξέρω ότι υπάρχουν εκατομμύρια μανιταρόφιλοι στον κόσμο και ότι ανάμεσά τους υπάρχουν άνθρωποι που δεν τα βλέπουν μόνο ως φαγητό, αλλά και σαν μαγικά φυτά τόσο από άποψη μορφής, όσο και για τον τρόπο που φύονται -ξαφνικά, κρυφά, ανέλπιστα- λες κι ανήκουν σε μια άλλη διάσταση, σε έναν άλλο τύπο ανάπτυξης της ζωής, πολύ διαφορετικό από των δέντρων, των θάμνων, των λουλουδιών, κτλ. Αντίθετα ωστόσο, δεν έχω ακούσει ποτέ τίποτα για «προϊστορικούς πετρόφιλους», πόσο μάλλον όταν η φωτογραφία δεν εικονίζει κάποιο μεγαλόπρεπο ντολμέν ή μενίρ (οπότε η δημοφιλία θα ήταν κάπως δικαιολογημένη), αλλά δυο πετραδάκια που από μακριά αν τα δεις, δεν διαφέρουν από βότσαλα.
«Η λέξη «αστροπελέκι» και σπανιότερα «αστροπελέκιο» ή «αστροπέλεκο» ή «αστροπέλεκας» σημαίνει τον κεραυνό, και ειδικότερα το βλήμα του κεραυνού, που το φαντάζονται σαν πέτρινο τσεκούρι. Είναι δηλαδή, όπως δείχνει η ετυμολογία του, «ο πέλεκυς της αστραπής». Η λέξη ήταν σε χρήση κατά τον μεσαίωνα και μόνο στον Ερωτόκριτο, απ’ όσο γνωρίζω, βρίσκεται η περίφραση «πέτρα τς αστραπής», ενώ μια άλλη περίφραση είναι «του θεού το βόλι».
Όπως έχω επισημάνει και αλλού, ο λαός ξεχωρίζει το φαινόμενο της αστραπής, όπως έκαναν και οι αρχαίοι Έλληνες και οι Ρωμαίοι, σε τρία: την αστραπή, το αστροπελέκι και το μπουμπουνητό, δηλαδή την αστραπή, τον κεραυνό και τη βροντή. Το βλήμα του κεραυνού πιστεύουν ότι πέφτει στη γη ως άμορφος λίθος, και ότι ωριμάζει, δηλαδή παίρνει το σχήμα του, όταν μείνει σαράντα μέρες χωμένος μέσα στη γη.»
«Τότε αποκτά θαυμαστές δυνάμεις και γι’ αυτό το λόγο όσοι βρίσκουν τέτοια πέτρα την έχουν για φυλαχτό, καθώς πιστεύουν ότι φέρνει ευτυχία στον κάτοχό της, ότι λύνει τα μάγια και προστατεύει από κάθε κακό. Κεραύνιοι λίθοι πιστεύουν ότι είναι οι προϊστορικοί πέτρινοι πέλεκεις ή αιχμές βελών της λίθινης εποχής που βρίσκονται σε αφθονία στην Ελλάδα, ενώ μερικές φορές εκλαμβάνονται ως «αστροπελέκια» και τεμάχια χαλαζία (quartz).
Η δοξασία αυτή είναι πάρα πολύ αρχαία. Οι αρχαίοι Έλληνες θεωρούσαν την αστραπή ως πηγή γέννησης και υπέθεταν ότι αυτή παράγει τα μανιτάρια «τρούφες» και τα μαργαριτάρια. Ονόμαζαν τα αστροπελέκια «κεραύνιους λίθους» και ως τέτοιους θεωρούσαν τους προϊστορικούς λίθινους πέλεκεις ή και τους αερόλιθους. Σε αυτούς απέδιδαν τις ίδιες θαυμαστές δυνάμεις που τους αποδίδει και σήμερα ο λαός, και τους χρησιμοποιούσαν σε καθαρμούς ή τους είχαν για φυλαχτά.»
«Αυτά τα φυλαχτά πίστευαν ότι προστατεύουν επίσης από τους κεραυνούς, όπως συνάγεται από κάποιες οδηγίες που διασώθηκαν για την κατασκευή τους, ενώ στους Βυζαντινούς χρόνους τα θεωρούσαν πολύτιμα.
Κάποιοι αρχαίοι συγγραφείς επίσης παρομοίαζαν τους κεραύνιους λίθους με τσεκούρια. Φαίνεται απ’ αυτό ότι ως τέτοιους κυρίως θεωρούσαν τους προϊστορικούς λίθινους πέλεκεις.
Οι Γερμανοί επίσης ονομάζουν τους κεραύνιους λίθους «Donneraxt» (πέλεκυς της βροντής), ενώ στα πιο αρχαία χρόνια θεωρούσαν τον πέλεκυ ως σύμβολο του κεραυνού και όπλο του θεού της βροντής Thunar (Thôrr). Είναι πολύ κοινές στους Γερμανούς αυτές οι δοξασίες, έτσι ώστε, εκτός από τη λέξη Donneraxt, είναι σε χρήση κι άλλες που δηλώνουν τους κεραύνιους λίθους, όπως «Donnerstein» (λίθος βροντής), «Donnerkeil» (σφήνα βροντής) και πλήθος άλλες.
Αλλά και άλλοι λαοί της Ευρώπης, της Ασίας και της Αφρικής τιμούν τους λίθους που πιστεύουν ότι προέρχονται από τους κεραυνούς. Ως τέτοιους, εκτός από τους προϊστορικούς πέλεκεις και τα βέλη, θεωρούν και τους αερόλιθους και τα απολιθωμένα οστά προϊστορικών καλαμαριών («βελεμνίτες») τους οποίους έχουν συνδέσει με πλήθος δεισιδαιμονιών.»
Φίλη μου Ελένη, δεν έχω να προσθέσω άλλο παρά να ξαναπώ με άλλα λόγια εκείνο που έγραψα στο facebook. Τα αστροπελέκια «δεν ανήκουν σ’ αυτόν τον κόσμο». Είναι λείψανα του τρόπου ζωής της λεγόμενης «Λίθινης Εποχής» που είναι πολύ δύσκολο να κατανοήσουμε όχι μόνο εμείς, αλλά όπως φαίνεται, αφότου διαδόθηκε και επικράτησε η χρήση των μετάλλων, ξεχάστηκε και έγινε ακατανόητος ακόμα και στους αρχαίους. Είναι «αντικείμενα από άλλη διάσταση», τέτοια που ακόμα και σήμερα, παρόλες τις αδιαμφισβήτητες επιστημονικές εξηγήσεις, συνεχίζουν να εξάπτουν την φαντασία, να δημιουργούν απορίες και να κάνουν το νου μας να ταξιδεύει.
Όσον αφορά τώρα την Ικαρία, είναι πασίγνωστη και αξιοσημείωτη η αφθονία τους. Πάρα πολλά βλέπει κανείς να εκτίθενται στις αρχαιολογικές και λαογραφικές συλλογές του νησιού, αλλά και στα σπίτια ακόμα υπάρχουν πολλά. Οι παλιοί Καριώτες τα ανακάλυπταν στα πιο απίθανα σημεία στα βουνά, σε μέρη που δύσκολα μπορεί κανείς να φανταστεί ότι ζούσαν άλλοτε άνθρωποι. Τα μάζευαν και τα φύλαγαν ως μαγικά αντικείμενα, αλλά και σήμερα ακόμα τα τιμούν και τα επιδεικνύουν με σεβασμό, ως ιστορικά αντικείμενα που δηλώνουν το πόσο αρχαία είναι η παρουσία του ανθρώπου στον τόπο μας.
Και θα τελειώσω την αναφορά στα αστροπελέκια της Ικαρίας, Ελένη, με το δικό σου σχόλιο κάτω από τη φωτογραφία στο Φλικρ:
«(τα αστροπελέκια) είναι από μια εποχή που το νησί ήταν καλυμένο με δάση και αυτές οι πέτρες (οι μεγάλες στρογγυλές πέτρες που ονομάζουμε «λούρους») ήταν ακόμα χωμένες βαθιά μέσα στη γη«.
Κεραύνια Εποχή, στ’ αλήθεια, θα ήταν εκείνη!
1) Τα νεώτερα αρχαιολογικά δεδομένα για τα λίθινα εργαλεία που ονομάζουμε «αστροπελέκια» μπορεί κανείς να διαβάσει στο «Αρχαιολογία Online» στο άρθρο: Προϊστορικές τεχνικές και μέθοδοι κατεργασίας του λίθου (Μέρος A´)
2) Για την αρχαία ιστορία και αρχαιολογία της Ικαρίας βλέπε το βιβλίο «Αρχαία Ικαρία» του καθηγητή Α. Παπαλά.
I don’t expect this long article to become too popular. It’s just that several modern-day Ikarians show a lot of interest in knowing as much as they can about the more recent history of the island and they are usually very disappointed. Compared with other islands of the Aegean Sea, there is so little to say about Ikaria! No glorious battles, no illustrious rulers, no forts and fleets, no trading towns, no towers, cathedrals and famous monasteries; only mossy stonewalls and old thrifty houses scattered in the ravines, the valleys and the forests in the hills.
Neverthelss, there were some short descriptions of the life in the island during the Obscurity («Αφάνεια») as we like to call in Ikaria the first hard centuries of the Ottoman occupation. These were written by the very few European travelers who touched at our rough, inhospitable shores, often by chance or accident. In Pr A.J. Papalas’ book «Ancient Icaria» I found a reference to one of these documents, which, although brief and trivial, capticated my imagination. It is by Charles Perry, a wealthy medical doctor from England who travelled in the Levant from 1739 to 1742. After visiting Egypt, Perry sailed from Alexandria to Athens. On his way across the Aegean he visited and described the islands of Cos and Patmos. But after that island, as he was heading for Mykonos, his ship was caught in a storm and was forced to drop anchor in Ikaria.
I liked Perry’s account. Reading his one and a half page about his accidental visit to Ikaria, I felt the genuine puzzlement of a man of the Century of Lights for the unwelcoming, extremely mountainous environment of the island and his also genuine astonishment (and contempt) for the attitude and the way of life of its inhabitants. But, most of all, I liked his account for a more personal reason: through the eyes of the good old British doctor, I saw some places of western Ikaria which I know very well, such as Karkinagri, Agios Isidoros and Langada, looking as uncanny and wild, as if we were talking about a remote, unfriendly rock in the middle of the South Pacific!
«We spent three days in Patmos, not disagreeably; and the fourth in the morning we set sail for Myconos; but the wind, which was otherwise pretty favorable, grew slack, next to a calm; so that it was with much-ado, with what wind we had, and the help of our oars, that we reached the west end of Nicaria in two days. We much lamented our hard fate, that we should thus long want a wind at such a favourable (for it) crisis of the year, it being near the Autumnal Equinox.
However, that night, about an hour after sunset, even whilst we were reproaching the malice of our stars, a fine gale sprang up. We failed not to embrace it immediately, and we went driving on, Jehu-like, with our sails full of wind and our hearts full of joy: But alas! How frail and transitory are human hopes and happiness, especially upon the sea? Within an hour after, the wind turned against us, and blew a storm; so that we were forced to change our course, and to seek shelter under a rock at the west end of Nicaria, which we did not attain, however, without much difficulty and danger.»
«Here we lay wind-bound four nights, and above three days; during which irksome interval we amused ourselves in the best manner we could with fishing: But after we had spent two days without other recreation than fishing, that sport grew dull and tedious; and whilst we were looking out for some sport and divertissement, kind Providence (of its grace and favour) sent us the glad tidings that about a mile off, on the side of a high rocky mountain, there was a spring of excellent water, which was resorted to by great number of partridges. Upon this intelligence, (which we got the third day of our detention there) we immediately got ready arms and ammunition of all sorts, as well for the belly as the barrel -such as bread, butter, cheese, salt, pepper, wine, glasses, etc. We marched on directly, (flushed with the hopes of new game) with uncommon ardour, or rather avidity; and we were well recompensed our pains; for we passed that day very agreeably.
The mountain (though in general very steep) admits a sort of level in that place; and the spring of water issues out of a rock, in a very convenient and delightful spot, where nature or chance has formed a sort of grot, large enough to receive and accommodate a dozen or 15 persons. This natural grot (if we may so call it) is covered over, and secured against the weather, by a large flat stone of about 24 feet in diameter: This rests upon and is supported by other stones on all sides, except to the eastward; where, being open, it presents to view a sort of alcove. Here we passed the whole day (which but for that retreat would have been tedious) very agreeably -reclining upon the bed of our grot, with the water trilling along close by us, whilst our partisans upon the hunt for partridges, wild goats, and the like, of which they brought us in good store.»
«There are some few inhabitants on this island, but those almost naked and savage, seldom seeing or conversing with any of the human species, except those of their own isle. The second day after we put in there, we sent out some of the mariners a shooting for us, who pursuing their game to the north side of the mountain, met with some of the natives. These were so affrighted at sight of strangers, that they fled from them with precipitation; but our people calling after them, and telling them they had brought them bread and corn, they at last prevailed on them to stop, and come to a party with them. These poor wretches, being at length persuaded of our good intentions, came to see us aboard our vessel, and afterwards brought us good store of grapes and meat. We were really at a loss to guess where they found those things; for the whole island, so far as we could see of it, is the most miserable, barren rock that ever was seen.
The 4th day, towards noon, the wind changing in our favour, we set sail for Myconos, which is 40 miles distant from the westernmost point of Nicaria. This (as it is to be supposed) is a run of about 7 hours, with a good brisk gale…»
Pages 484-486 from Charles Perry’s book, «A View of the Levant», which I have arbitrarily named «Wind bound in Nicaria», can be found in Google books
Modern books about the history of Ikaria:
Comments on this article are very welcome!
Two days ago and I’m back in Ikaria and I am taking part in my own cleansing ritual as always early in the morning and after that I put something on and lie on the sand and I am tired and I drowse off and although it was cold earlier, now the sun rises higher and I wake up from the heat, and I think I’m dreaming ‘cause next to my waist, and my left thigh small black creatures emerge from the sand hot babes and they look as if made of rubber and they are six or seven (maybe there were more while I was asleep) and they crawl and paddle towards the sea – because they are newly born baby sea turtles!!!
And I jump on my feet and one more baby crawls out of the sand from the spot where I had laid my head and I’m trying to reach my camera while I’n also trying to keep my pareo around my waist and the camera drops on the sand and I am wasting time to clean it and I think that I’m screaming -from impatience, excitement and joy…
😖 😆 😄
And I open the lid of the lens and I finally take three good shots!!!
Bravo, baby sea-turtles!
Thanks for the short crazy moment
I felt you were my own little brats!!!
Now in case some of you thought I am some kind of animal enchanter ☺ – according to latest records, loggerhead sea turtles are not uncommon in the eastern Aegean islands, including Ikaria, and that in spite the fact that we don’t have many appropriate sandy beaches. Several friends have seen nests and even witnessed mothers laying eggs.
Happy Summer, my friends!
It’s not the right time of the year to post long accounts. In the summer people usually browse magazines and look at pictures. So this article is about pictures, pictures of a special kind, older or newer attachements to my friend Nana’s blog posts, that may have passed unnoticed. The same as her blog as a whole, these pictures are not touristic neither do they aim to giving information about the island. All I may say about them is that they are thrilling and they have provided inspiration to a lot of viewers, and if I may say, a bit of motivation as well, and that not only concerning Ikaria but for all similar places of the world gifted with an exciting outdoors and a culture of freedom. Before I write a full blog review, I’ll stop and just say: it’s not pictures from my beloved Flickr that I look at when I am homesick for Ikaria. I look at these pictures. And when I have time, I click on the links and I also read the articles some of which go back to several years ago.
I encourage you to take the ride. It’s a wild ride, as wild and natural as our island. Sometimes the concept does not make sense, sometimes it does, sometimes there’s humor or doubt, puzzlement, even bewilderment. There is art and fun and yes, in some of them a visitor can find some tourist information too.
But this is not the point. The point is a strong, desicive and creative girl living and rambling in Ikaria and what she thinks about it all. Take a look yourselves and say if I am wrong.
Someone just asked. Yes, of course there will be a second part and maybe more to come. Nana to agrimi’s media library from Ikaria is big!.
Seeing pictures of those new girls as they went around and posed proudly in the wild nature of Ikaria last summer, I said: «Hey, young ladies! We were there long before you!» Not that -goes without saying- we were the first. We don’t claim a title which righteously belongs to the hippies. But we were the first who took photos and shared them with the world. Retracting my memories, I had even made a drafty webpage in 2004 where I described the magic of one of those places -the best in my opinion in the whole island. «Hike Chalares, canyon of my heart», was the title, if I am not mistaken. I had received critisism for that page, critisism of the kind, «You shouldn’t give out secrets» and so on. But I was sure of my step. Wonders of nature shouldn’t be kept secret. The same goes for «pockets of freedom», they shouldn’t be kept secret either. But this is not the issue today. The issue today is that, twelve years after that day of September when we walked up bravely for almost the whole length of that river, today that I am not as young and posy as I was in 2003, I am sharing again with the world some of the material stored in the poor memory card of our obsolete Casio Exilim which could contain no more than 20 hi-res shots. But first let me review a few stories about the river – the scenery where these shots where taken.
♦ ♦ ♦ As I said, in 2003 we visited the canyon to survey the location and take photos. Besides sport and fun, our purpose was to a evaluate: «Was it as beautiful as they said? And if so, what kind of threats to the environment were there?».
♦ ♦ ♦ Having proven that Chalares was an amazing place, having shown that inspite it was September, there was plenty of water and the vegetation was lush, having warned that the sides of the hills were infested by disastrous free-grazing goats, I suggested that a hiking trail was created in order to put in value the beauty of the canyon and hopefully promote its protection.
♦ ♦ ♦ My appeal was heard and in 2005 a large trail network spread in the area. In addition, the large river pool which appears in the photos below was chosen for a very interesting experiment: the construction of a small environment-friendly semipermeable dam, meant to slow down the flow of the river and give new strengh to the vegetation.
♦ ♦ ♦ But though in the coming years the canyon got to be more and more known, visited and enjoyed, the main threat to its environment was not treated. Unfortunately the goats were always there. As a matter of fact, for reasons that don’t concern this review, there were even more! As a result, exactly five years ago, in October 18, 2010, when a torrential rainfall hit the western part of the island, the overgrazed, barren and unstable sides of the lower part of the canyon collapsed. Tons of earth and rocks were carried by the water smashing the trees and wiping out all vegetation, leveling the lakes, transforming what used to be a detailed natural handiwork into a flat highway of gravel and sand.
Today is the black anniversary of that disaster. For older girls like me it is a bitter reminder that it takes much more things than just good intentions for paradise to happen. For younger girls I hope it is a lesson to be learned, I am afraid, only through experience. I am spreading my winds (which have started to turn grey) over their pretty heads and I am dedicating to them seven pictures from that blissful day of 2003 in the river when it was rich, when it was green, when it was mine. For better or worse it’s their turn now.
The following photos were heavily processed using different methods in different periods of time. In this entry, as they always should, they appear their real «order taken», which is «in order of feelings»: curiosity, worry, happiness, pride, relaxed bliss, anxiety, humility. Their titles in Flickr are different but if you move your mouse over each picture, you will be able to know which is which.
That’s all. Let the old show begin again!
Copyright © Eleni Ikanou