Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki. A summer view from a monastery
north of the city, surrounded by Byzantine walls.
This exquisite description of the fabulous Byzantine city was sent to me by a friend, a short story novelist from my hometown in Greece. Her name is Mary Toloudi - Sidiropoulou. In the current financial and social tsunami the Greek ruling class has forced the entire country into, words like Mary's feel like a fresh breath of hope... they sound like soft music in your ears. This short description of pictures of the Greek co-capital was recently published in the September edition of the 'Soul' magazine. Mary's word is extremely compact and it's got much hidden in it. Read it, and then read it again. Each time you'll discover new sights and sounds. There's far more to it than meets the eye. This is so typical of her. Typical of short story tellers. They have this rare ability to ignore irrelevant details, and only focus on the essential. I wish our politicians learned to talk like this too, instead of showering us with pretentious statements that usually mean very little, if anything at all.

Θεσσαλονίκη  Ιούλιος 2011

Είναι πόλεις παλιές με μυρωδιές και σημάδια. Αυτές που τα πρόσωπα των ανθρώπων κουβαλούν μνήμη και ιστορία. Πόλεις που η πίσσα της ασφάλτου ακυρώνεται από τον μισογκρεμισμένο πέτρινο τοίχο, την συκιά που ξεφυτρώνει πίσω από βυζαντινά τούβλα, σαν να είναι ο ιδρώτας και ο μόχθος του εργάτη που τα στοίβαξε.

Η ζέστη εκτός από σιωπές έχει και χρώμα. Όπως η σκόνη πατινάρει τα υφιστάμενα και τα κάνει κουρασμένα αλλά σεμνά, ενάντια στις προκλήσεις των καιρών. Έτσι και η ιουλιανή ζέστη.

Πόλη σαν κι αυτές, η Θεσσαλονίκη επιτρέπει το διαφορετικό, το διαχρονικό, το αέναο, το αμφίσημο να υπάρξουν. Είναι που μπερδεύτηκαν οι κανόνες με το πέρασμα του χρόνου και ακυρώθηκε η εφαρμογή τους. Νέοι παλιοί θεσμοί, νόμοι, ήθη και έθιμα καθορίζουν με αναδρομική ισχύ το παρόν. Επιτρέπουν το κομψό και το χυδαίο, το πληθωρικό και το λιτό, το αρχέγονο και το νέο, το αργό και το ταχύ, το φωτισμένο και το σκοτεινό, το γνωστό και το άγνωστο, το ορισμένο και αόριστο, το υπαρκτό και ανύπαρκτο, τη λάβα και το νερό, την μάχη  και την εκεχειρία, τον έρωτα και το μίσος να συνυπάρχουν και να κατρακυλούν τα λιθόστρωτα πασπαλισμένα κανέλα παλιού μάστορα για να ξεπλυθούν και να αλλάξουν ρόλους στον Θερμαϊκό.

Εκεί δίπλα κοιτάζοντας τον επιβλητικό πέτρινο όγκο του Λευκού Πύργου κινούνται νωχελικά ανέμελοι και ξέγνοιαστοι περιπατητές, ξαφνιασμένοι περιηγητές, ανικανοποίητοι θλιμμένοι εραστές, συντροφιά με τα κλάξον των ανυπόμονων οχημάτων, υπό το βλέμμα των θαμώνων των παρά θιν΄ αλός καφενείων. Παρατηρούν τους πεινασμένους γλάρους να ανασύρουν τους νέους ρόλους έχοντας την ψευδαίσθηση ότι πρόκειται περί τροφής. Παρατηρήτρια κι εγώ με ψευδαισθήσεις γλάρου. 

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