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Halki, Naxos, Greece, September 22, 2013

Halki, Naxos, Greece, September 22, 2013

This table sits in the intimate central square of Halki, a village on the Greek island of Naxos. Like so many villages in Greece, Halki is blindingly beautiful – brightly coloured doors and white walls concentrate the sun’s glare, filling the streets with an almost tangible lightness. It is the simple low-maintenance beauty of something done exactly right. Outside the village the land is dry and yellowed; outcrops of ochre and umber lending a pervasive orange glow to the thirsty green. Pockets of well-watered garden with swollen aubergines exude a moist fertility; the silver-backs of the pale green olive leaves reflect a million points of light, overexposing the scenery. Naxos is a dry and rugged island – its centre like another planet – yet it thrives on good fortune and nurture.

On a sunny September afternoon, in the mild heat amplified by the absent breeze, the shade of this tree-covered square was most welcome. There was nothing to it but to sit and eat and drink, so we ordered the perennial Greek salad and an onion tart, mineral water and coffee. Simple things done immensely well, it was a brief yet memorable stay.

I like this photo for its pleasing colours, indicative of the ease with which Greece achieves harmony. Perhaps it is a quality of the light – the clearest and brightest I’ve seen outside Australia – or perhaps it is that white and blue make such a neutral base from which to work, that even contrasting colours fit effortlessly into the picture. The soft focus of the background perhaps does not reflect the sharpness of the light, yet I’d like to think it captures the dreaminess of the old towns on the islands, which always seem far too incredible to be true.

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