Maybe it was a bad piece of goat, in fact I’m pretty sure it was some bad goat… but who the hell eats goat in the first place? Especially from some sketchy food cart on a filthy Athens side street. But we were young and hungry and the tour-bus was about to depart on a three-hour ride to the mysterious Oracle at Delphi; and whatever was roasting there on the cart smelled, more or less, good… and looked, more or less, like Gyros… which was something we were used to from Greek joints in Chicago.
This was thirty-one years ago as I write, a twentieth birthday had in a cheap pensionne in Rome and a summer solstice sunset dropped softly into the Aegean in Corfu… and now a trip to the center of the ancient Greek world—of which I knew absolutely nothing—a couple of Jewish college boys blithely slouching toward pagan central. Yet I never think of the summer solstice without thinking of the bittersweet birth of darkness—the longest day a birth (six months later) of darkest night; just as the darkest day in December births the light.