Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ascending the Acropolis with my Daughters

I’m bursting! Just overjoyed with emotion. The last time I stood on these rocks at the base of the Acropolis I was a young man backpacking with old friends like brothers sleeping in train stations and hitchhiking across Europe. It has been almost 20 years, and now I am back with my daughters. I couldn’t be happier.
We race through the funny shops of the Plaka, up winding streets past vendors and low hanging trees. Sweat on our necks from morning heat, we got an early start. I wanted the marble rocks to shine in the early sun.
I carry Kinu on my shoulders and Rebekah and Xian try to keep up at my heals. We pause at the Theater of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Oh my, such joy. My heart is bursting.
Past the Athena Nike Temple and through the Propytaea. Hurry now, this is the place of Socrates and Pericles. Come… we’re almost there. Looking down over the city of Athens, we have come so far, so far in this life…
Next to the Parthenon there is the Athena Promachos sparkling, the rubble of centuries of destroyers. Yet she still stands.
In the distance, Lycabettus Hill towering over the city. We pause in the shade of old marble columns and nibble crackers and cheese. My daughters are tired. Their brows covered in sweat and I am pushing too hard. They need rest but my heart is leaping out of my chest. Slow down, now man. These rocks ain’t going anywhere.
When we reach the Parthenon I am out of breath. Too smiley and giggly to really speak. I just hold my girls and speak in whispers. Thank you for this day! I’ve wanted this moment for so long.
The sunlight is blinding here, such blue sky too.
Can you see it in my eyes? The happiness I feel? Does it show? How does one capture joy? How does one express the swelling of a heart in the breast? Today I know. Today I felt.
No one can ever take today from me. No one can ever touch this memory I hold in my heart. The gratefulness I feel. It’s not about winning, no… I’ve not won. I am just alive. Bursting inside, and alive.

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