If you find the text too small to read on this website, press the CTRL button and,
without taking your finger off, press the + button, which will enlarge the text.
Keep doing it until you have a comfortable reading size.
(Use the - button to reduce the size)

Today's quote:

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Closer to the Sun


With all things Hydra on my mind on this coolish autumn day, I found an online copy of George Johnston's "Closer to the Sun" at archive.org (create a free account, then log in and "borrow" the book) - a rare find indeed!

These semi-autobiographical stories of George Johnston and Charmian Clift's life on the island of Hydra (called Silenos in the book) make for interesting reading to those who've been to Hydra or want to know more about the Johnston's six years spent in the Greek islands.

Pollution, then as now, has been a problem. This is how "Closer to the Sun" begins: "The most important man on the island of Silenos was Dionysios, the public garbage collector."

Hydra in George Johnston's days

And it continues, "The garbage man ... was important every day of the year to one section of the town or another. For without his high-wheeled cart and his string of basket-burdened donkeys, and, most important of all, his goodwill, how was the rubbish of the town to be carted away in conformity with the proclaimed and printed order of Lieutenant Fotis, the police commandant, that streets, walls, and courtyards should be kept clean and all houses in a state of reputable whitewash?"

At the end of the novel, we discover where all the garbage went ... into the sea: "The Twelve Apostles made the last turn around the buoy, and its bow was lifting and falling now in a slow, graceful dance to the run of the clear gulf seas ... the wake of the boat had come in and slapped quick waves around the base of the rock chute, where Dionysios had been emptying the garbage down from the high houses in the pannier-baskets of his donkeys."

The one redeeming feature? Not so much plastic back then in the 1960s.

Googlemap Riverbend