by cheri block
I am trying to ready myself to board a plane and fly away, far from my pastoral field.
But something or someone is in the air.
Instead of anticipating my trip to Athens tomorrow with the heft it deserves, I have been restless, wandering around my house, gathering things up.
I have collected all the food in my refrigerator that might spoil in two weeks’ time and composted it. Outside, I have watered my pansies and succulents, trimmed my roses, and scraped the dead leaf duff away from the base of the old oak trees, observing that spring and her flirty fertility has finally arrived with panache.
It is as if Demeter herself, Greek Goddess of the Harvest, were here with me, bringing to fruition all of my desires. Oh, to reap the rewards of planting, tilling, and harvesting not only seeds, but also knowledge.
Someone else has been whirling around the house and property. As I fed the cat Bobb and loaded the bird feeder with seed, the boundaries of my mind expanded, from judgment to acceptance, from skepticism to openness. Like H.C. Wells’ Time Traveller, I seem to be erasing the limitations of time and place in a winged chariot.
Well. On to the subject of my flight.
Enough of this rhapsodizing about time travel, composting, Demeter, and Bobb.
In Athens on Wednesday afternoon, our first session will open at 4:30pm. At that time, in two separate rooms, about 15 seminarians per room will gather with books and notes in hand and sit in a circle. Two tutors (professors from St. John’s College) will sit opposite one another. One will ask an opening question. Silence will preside for many minutes until one of the participants answers. In a Socratic manner, one question will yield an answer, which in turn, may beg another question.
The subject at hand is Alcibiades.
Who was Alcibiades? you might be asking.
That’s why I am going to Athens.
To find out.