We hadn’t been in Greece long enough to ignore the flock of sheep dotted like shagbush on the hillside,nor the wildflowers through which we made our way to the grate set in the ground. And then we were there: the grate was over the Upper Peirenian Spring on Agro Corinth. The guidebook published in Greece said that the spring had originated when Pegasus pawed the ground as Bellerophon tried to catch him. Not, you notice, "legend has that this is how it happened..." but simply "this IS how it came into being." And this spring was not to be confused with the Lower Peirenian spring, made famous by Alexander Pope in "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing; drink deep or taste not the Peirenian Spring..."
The sun, bright for a March day, beat down upon us and we knew we were, as Dorothy once said, "not in Kansas anymore." Nor in Rhode Island, but really, truly, in Greece. No matter that the grate was quite unpreposessing, or that there was no water springing from the ground, only a bit of a gurgle down below.
We had walked the ramparts of this Dark Ages fortress high above the ancient ruins of Corinth, where we had eaten Greek yogurt and honey for the first time, and where we’d seen Korean Christians praying at the Bema - the spot where St. Paul had first preached to (whom else?) the Corinthians.
We’d planned this trip for months, ever since the promise made two years before that "we’ll go to Greece at the end of your senior year in High School" had begun to seem realistic. For Christmas we’d gotten currency converters, and travel clocks, and Berlitz tapes.
"Kalimera," we said to one another in preparation. "Parakalo." And responded "Ne, efaristo." What more does one need in a language besides hello, please, thank you, yes, and no?