Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Blustery Day

We are having a lot of fun today on account of the weather! It’s clear and bright and not too cold, but the wind is ferocious. Demetrios tells me this wind, which comes about this time every year, even has a name. It’s called the Varthares (Var-THAR-ees) from the region where it originates. It comes tearing down the mountains from what used to be Yugoslavia.

I suppose it must not be the strongest wind I’ve ever been in, since it isn’t dropping trees. But even Hurricane Isabel, which did smash trees into many houses in Richmond, and flattened cars, did not seem as violent as this wind.

One reason is probably that we are less sheltered from it than in Richmond. Our doors and windows are single-glazed and badly in need of weather-stripping. They’ve been rattling loudly all day. In fact, one of the doors, one of the sliding doors (!) kept blowing open – this despite the fact that the shutter had been closed over it. I finally thought to lock it. The wind still comes right through, blowing the curtains.

Then again, the tall buildings apparently magnify the sound of the wind as it comes screaming between them.

And everybody has awnings above his balcony. These are pretty well rolled up this time of year but a portion of them hangs down even so. You know the sharp crack of a wildly flapping sail or flag or tent. Well, multiply that sound by a hundred or so times and you get the effect. Also, our shutters turn into whistles in this wind; the result is almost spooky.

Above all, perhaps, is the fact that our apartment is right at tree-top level, so while pedestrians on the street, where the tree trunk sits motionless, may be vaguely aware that the trees are moving ‘way up there above, we are right up here where the trees are taking the brunt of it. These trees, still with virtually all their leaves (although they are beginning to turn yellow), are bending and swaying tumultuously, like huge waves. You could almost get seasick watching them. The ravens, who seem to have trouble landing in them anyway, are going to have a hard time of it when they come to roost tonight! I’m not sure why, but whereas other birds seem to pick out their branch during their approach and alight on it in one, perfect try, the ravens sort of crash land. They come barreling into the tree and seem to fall a foot or more before clutching onto a branch that will hold them. That’s in calm weather; tonight should be very interesting!

Occasionally we hear the sound of shattering glass (which reminded us to bring in our little wrought-iron and glass table from the balcony) or of things falling.

Christos’ tenant, the one who recently provided us, through the wall, with a live, x-rated sound track, moved out and Christos gave us a key to his apartment, across the hall from ours, so we went over and checked it out, too. Everything there seems okay, and everything on our balcony is secured (except one rag I had drying out there which blew away).

We felt very cozy, eating our dinner at the kitchen table, where the oven had been on for the preceding 45 minutes. Tonight we are going to have a traditional Greek soup of milk, butter, flour, and salt. You buy it dried and add water.

We may add an extra blanket to the bed, too.