The elements immerse themselves into their afternoon dialogues and the eroded rock around the lighthouse cascades into the unsettled quarrel of the sea with the island. Waves crash as the soil crumbles further into the very deep, the very blue sea of Delos. The wind in a frolic activates the exploding surf into streamers of kinetic light. Overpowered, shepherd boys fall into sleeps, isolated with grazing herds. It is then, in the dead of the afternoon that the rogue breeze makes its intrusions, entering into the clandestine communities, prowling stealthily, travelling through the houses that stack the steep streets, seeking out its secrets in its wilful way. Its grey eyes scan the barber shops, sweep over he churchyards and the slaughterhouses. Wildly it moves through rooms and unseen people call out, frightened by its lawless presence. They are the old who call out, who hear each other breathe among its eerie moans in the lonely hill-top villages, who hear death in all things. It is they who cry out. And then it bangs the windows scornfully and leaves, scattering fragrances from the sea, leaving the long trail of sorrow in its wake. And you can hear it in the fields, as it wrestles with the grapes, tearing down olives from their branches in forsaken places where no man comes.
Inside the salt white houses, wizened women age waiting like spiders, shrinking into dark corners in the shaded rooms. Widows pin on brooches, drape their heavy shawls hidden from sunlight while lips move in endless cycles of prayer. Quieted are the lace-makers, toiling in slow grace their frail fingers knotting. Innumerable wedding trousseaux for new generations of doe-eyed brides, who too will learn how to tease the spirits from the vine and draw healing from wild herbs. The old pass on the dowries and the memories with careful deliberation. The renaissance bed-hangings are now worn and powdery, the glass bead-work has long lost its sparkle. In tiny rooms adjacent, ancient men lie crumpled in their beds, lifeless dolls, fingering their worry beads. Slow-dying fathers, husbands watch the sea-lights pass slowly over the flaking plaster ceilings, follow the tireless course of the sun through the day.
But the eyes of dark Leandros know he must not sleep. For the Aegean burns in blinding light and the waters of the coast swirl in ever stronger currents through his dream. When he dozes they try to carry him away. In the oldness of the summer he falls in sleeps. His mind stays only faintly alert. He hears the voices of the young as the sounds drift to him. The whining of live infants, barking dogs, the braying of asses. The daily siren of the mainland steamer blows hard and in his mind's eye he sees the young men push the boats out anxiously to meet it. Vain young boys dive, cutting sharply into waves, their supple bodies knifelike. He knows their rough shouts, their graceful strength but his mind is ebbing like a tide in an emptying cove where dazzling waters carry and retreat. The lazy sun-filled voices of the fishermen travel to him in the quiet noon. Octopii caught in rock pools on the beach, cook live on spits of white driftwood. The dry leaves near his window crackle in the breeze and begin to fall like golden birds from the summer trees. The deep swirling sea floods in his mind where golden Hellas releases its secret storms of light. Through his body grows a vine, a young vine, the green shoot of death. The vine gains strength, denying him as it grows steadily through his veins, through the walls of his being and slowly, so slowly turns his sky, to stone.