This morning, I was planning to write a post about Thomae Kattei, an extraordinary woman and a cheesemaker I met while writing an article for Culture magazine about traditional cheesemaking in our region. Since I made my first visit to her mountain farm near the shepherd village of Vaskina in the winter of 2010, Thomae has become if not a friend then certainly a mentor and a great source of information and stories about the traditional foodways of the Peloponnese.
But today I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on the subject of cheese (or much of anything). Not sure if it’s the second cup of extra-strong French-pressed coffee I’m drinking, a little bit of worry about Jasper, my son, who is home sick with the flu for the second time in two weeks, or news of yesterday’s severe weather in southern Greece…more than likely, it’s a combination of all of these things.
The children and I are in Montana now, so we missed the storm, but the photos and reports from friends are impressive. Yesterday, severe weather swept through much of Greece, including our region of the Peloponnese, causing flooding and mud slides in the mountains and knocking down trees and damaging piers and harbors up and down the coast.
There’s something about a storm at sea that I find incredibly exhilarating and, depending on the circumstances, occasionally frightening. Yesterday’s storm, I’m told, was some of both.
I’m not sure there’s a much better reminder of the power of nature than a storm at sea. OK, tornadoes are sound reminders, yes, as are avalanches, blizzards, but there’s something about the heaving grey waters, the winds whipping from all directions, the waves, the spray…I love standing at the edge of the water’s highpoint and feeling all of these forces at work together. It’s an orchestration of sorts. A wild and beautiful and, occasionally, frightening concert of the elements at their wildest.
Today, in lieu of recipes or tales about our region’s foodways, I’ll post a few photos of yesterday’s storm.
The images from Plaka, the harbor for the town of Leonidio, which is the county seat for our district, are from an excellent website offering news and images from the area. The rest, from Spetses, the island that sits across the water from us and where Mom and I lived off and on in the 1970s and 80s, are by Mixalis Kokorakis. (Thanks, Mark Beer, for the links!)
I’ll return to write about Thomae and her delicious cheese soon. In the meantime, batten down the hatches and enjoy winter’s tumult, and her wonders, wherever you may be.