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Nothing Too Much

Stream in Athens park 

This is the kind of place I always find, a little stream in a quiet park.  I am sitting again in the garden park near the Parliament.  I put the kids on the plane at 0655.  My plane doesn’t go until 1805, so I figured that I would go to the Archeology Museum, the one I missed because of the strike.   I will write about that later.

I sat at this very spot before the kids came a few days ago.  The feeling was different.  That day the sun was shinning; today it is overcast and drizzly.  My moods reflected the weather on both occasions.  Then I was about to get on the Metro to go and get them at the airport so that we could see Greece together.  Today I am getting ready to get on the Metro to go back to Iraq.  The kids have left.

The excitement of Iraq wore off with the first step I took in that dusty desert. Now I just want to finish my job.  Some people think it is a bad idea to go on R&R, especially the short ones I have chosen.  The received wisdom is that getting out for a short time just makes you want to stay out.  Of course that is right, but most people still want to take the R&R. 

Aegina view

Above is a very from a hill in Aegina, an island near Athens.  Maybe because I am in Greece, I remember the classical debate about having and not having.  Some thought that you should not have anything you could lose, so as to avoid the pain of loss.  Most Greek thinkers were moderates, however,  who didn’t believe in excess – nothing too much. They understood that an excess of pleasure seeking would lead to unhappiness, but they also knew that an excess of denial would produce the same result. 

I enjoyed being with the kids and finally seeing this place and adding Greece to our shared landscape of memory.  The joy of having done these things greatly outweighs the pain of losing it and the memory will brighten up my time left in Iraq.  It is not that long anyway.  I have half done and since I have saved my R&Rs for the second half of my tour, I have lots of time out coming.

Below are cats in Poros sharing the catch.

cats in Poros

Iraq has been a fantastic experience, but it is less attractive prospectively than retrospectively.  This is a great thing to HAVE done, less fun to be doing.

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