The distant lapping of the water gently splashing against the wooden moorings of the archaic Venetian bay, mingled with the sound of seabirds. As I walked along the cobblestones, the sun cast its vibrant rays upon the distant horizon. I paused, yearning to capture the magnificence of this sunrise; amidst the silence I perceived the beauty of a moment in time, forever engraved within the depths of my soul.
Walking along the cliff edge overlooking the caldera, my heart was full of joy as the sun’s rays peeped over the horizon, illuminating the earthy colour of the stone houses perched along the cliff face overlooking the ocean. The sweet smell of baked bread permeated the morning air. A few more steps and I entered a bakery barely visible, a hidden gem amidst a sea of white washed buildings. An elderly lady looked at me with big beautiful eyes, warm and pure with a childlike innocence yet sad with wisdom born of pain and suffering of years gone bye. She fixed her eyes on me, and for a few seconds all I could do was look with reverence at her face. Eventually I spoke in basic Greek, “Good morning aunty”, a term of respect and reverence for elderly women, reserved even for strangers. “Good morning and how may I be of service to you” she replied with a warm intonation looking into my eyes while smiling. We spoke at length exchanging pleasantries before I politely asked for some bread. After paying, I noticed some sweets and looked at the change in my hands. “Aunty how much are the croissants?” She looked at me with compassion “Please take one my behalf”. I was deeply touched and responded “Aunty I have money to spend please, I would also like one for my wife. She responded without hesitation “Then take one more for your wife and don’t worry about money” I was deeply touched in my heart, and I walked up to her pleading “Please aunty I would prefer to pay”. She looked at me with those warm beautiful eyes “You have a good heart that much I can see; please take what I offer with all my heartfelt pleasure. I responded “No aunty it is you that has a beautiful heart and not myself; I pray that God blesses you in every way”. Slowly, she came out from behind the counter and reverently pulled out a bible and said with her warm voice, “This is what I read in my spare time; the grace of God is what grants me hope and strength to continue in life”. My soul stirred and my heart rejoiced with sheer joy. Holding this beautiful person at arms length I embraced her and kissed her cheeks. This elderly lady whose face manifested hardship and suffering had the capacity to love a perfect stranger. “God bless you aunty, and may the love of Christ sustain us in all things” I uttered while holding her within my arms and resting my head against her beautiful face. Her arms clasped me lovingly as if I were her own son.
Walking along the deserted street, I paused momentarily. The soft patter of my lone footsteps ceased; only the gently lapping of the waves in the nearby harbour punctuated the stillness of a cold winter’s morning. I marvelled at the archaic scene before me. Buildings on either side manifested a mediterranean facade of earthy hues decaying yet defiant in their timeless beauty. Scarlet sandstone walls with elaborate wooden doors contrasted brilliantly against well worn blue cobblestones. In the distance the ringing of Church bells, slowing brought me out of my reverie. I smiled as I soaked in the timeless beauty of a bygone era.