Day 16, Monday, July 6, 2015
Congratulations to the US Women’s Soccer (Football) Team!!!
I decided it would be best to cool my heels this morning (for those of you in Europe and other countries, that’s an expression from African American communities in the US, which I personally first encountered when in VISTA [Volunteers in Service to America] back in 1968).
I just spent it re-packing everything for the second leg of my trip, and getting in some exercise. This Holiday Inn redeemed itself by having a real nice swimming pool and mini-gym.
Before my swim, I decided to try some weights to see what I wanted to do about weights when I got back settled in Florida. I’ve never lifted weights in my life. In fact, I always scoffed at the notion as I was hauling and chopping wood for a big chunk of my life, building stone walls and doing a lot of outdoor work in general. But about 3 or 4 years ago, I gave myself a hernia by trying to move a big rock I had no business moving—I did end up moving it, but got the hernia as a result, so it was a Pyrrhic victory—and I had to stop my heavy lifting. But it took almost being unable use my arms to push myself up into those Spain caves that made me realize I had to do something drastic because I was losing my strength. After this experience I can say I’m not sure I like weights but I can see where they might be important in my old age.
I’m just starting to feel really good swimming again—and now I’m about to go to Russia and Romania, were I have no idea if I’ll be able to swim. But now instead of cross-country skiing in Vermont, I’ll be swimming in Florida.
My song -good grief!
After my swim I took a sauna. While in the sauna a song came to me that I had written for Amy at the beginning of our relationship. I am not a very good songwriter but this is a really good one—one of my two best. And in singing it to myself, my grief came back big-time. But that was okay with me. Why not experience grief from time to time? Our past relationship, which was so beautiful and powerful, deserves it. So long as I don’t stay there!
I had an interesting thought regarding losing this relationship: I am not grief. I am not devastated. I am not in despair. I am not angry. I am not resentful. I am not in fear or worried about my future. I am not seeing innocence. I am not compassion. I am not gratefulness. About my dissolved relationship I am only what I think in any given moment. So that was my morning.
Taking to the air
Then off to St. Petersburg on Ukrainian Air (yikes!) to change planes in Kiev, Ukraine. This part of my adventure will be so different from Greece. But I’ve never been to any of these countries, so it’s wonderful.
Last night, though, I was really feeling like a weary traveler. I realized that in the Greek Islands, especially on Naxos, I had a chance to finally stop in one place and relax a while. This was really necessary for me, and I really could have used another week. I am also really tan right now. But after a good night’s sleep I feel like I’ve got my second wind—maybe.
I switched planes in Kiev (does that mean I can now say I was in the Ukraine—eh, probably not, but I can say it was hotter there than in Greece!) After standing in a line (queue) for a half hour, which said “International transfers” (or something like that), when I finally got to the desk, this Ukranian lady got really irritated with me: “You don’t be here. Go there!” How was I supposed to know? There were no instruction signs—at least not in English.
I landed in St. Petersburg, and was the last one through customs. I came out and there were Peter and Svetlana (Lana) waiting for me—a sight for sore eyes. It was now 11:00 at night and as we were heading to our place to stay on the other side of St. Petersburg, I couldn’t believe that it was still essentially light out, because St. Petersburg is so far north. It was like a perennial sunset, with the sunrise right around the corner. Really strange.