Surely on another autumn day like this, the acorns swelling green on the trees, the earth dark red with rain, the sky elaborately patterned with the tatters of a storm, another woman stood here on the behemoth limestone wall of the ancient acropolis called Kranea, looking north across a fertile oak valley at noon.
And what of a woman just my age and size and temperament, twenty-seven and slight, a dreamer with a hearty appetite and a streak of anxious nerves? Did she ever walk this wall?
She would have had children, no doubt, half-grown already. A body broader and more generous for it. What broke her fast at dawn? What words did she murmur to the rising sun? What lullabies to her daughters and sons with the moon? What teas for their coughs, what fears, what hopes, what smell and warmth of her husband in the heat of the early autumn dark?
Now, the wall stands tumbled. The spines of scrub oak, soft-eared salvias, white blooming squill spires, olive trees and thyme push everywhere around and between.
Lichens spread across the stone, maps of millennia, each century's island.
Rain, two thousand years of it, has made hollows, tunnels and bowls in the limestone wall, like the underbelly of Kefalonia itself, riddled with freshwater passageways and underground rivers.
The people of ancient Kranea are now only the red earth, the olive, the crocus, the acorns, the chisel marks on their colossal guardian wall. We try to visit some of their tombs at Mazarakata, but the gates are closed, the lock rusted. We can see a few through the fence, full of wild thyme. There is one almond-shaped hole into the earth, womanly and dark. There, in the red earth, everything is reborn. There, the fall of civilizations is not past, but now, resting in mythtime. Right there, where Demeter walks, with purple crocuses at her heels.