Why and the Gods

Trip Start Mar 21, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Papanikolau

Flag of Greece  , Macedonia Region,
Sunday, May 25, 2008

Carolyn and I paid our respects to the abode of the twelve Greek gods at Mt. Olympus.  The highest peak in Greece had now changed hands to the Orthodox Christians as small shrines and a rebuilt monastery were part of the trip along Mavrologos Gorge.  Perhaps the twelve gods felt neglected today?

Because of a locked gate and some misleading trails, the trip up the gorge began with a challenge.  But soon we were on the E4 European trail surrounded by oaks, beech, and pine in a good example of a mixed-Mediterranean forest within the Pindus Mountains.  Mt. Olympus was hidden behind the steep gorge forests and rocky outcrops, with the Enipeas River below.  In places, waterfalls dropped into emerald pools, where midges danced to and fro as the sun warmed them.

We reached the national park area by foot from the nearby town of Litochoro.  A Ukranian student gave us a ride to town as we were walking uphill at sunset from where the bus left us on the side of the road; the main bus line doesn't go to the small town of Litochoro.

Continuing up, we reached the road in the late afternoon.  From here, the trail continued up towards a cabin and the summits.  At this point, Carolyn had enough hiking so we found a ride down the mountain with a friendly Greek family from Thessaloniki.

Some places at some times display spectacular acts of nature, those that could easily be seen as acts of God or the gods.  In this case, Zeus it seemed had returned home to Mt. Olympus, as his lightning struck the plains near the sea, with a rose-colored anvil of his cumulonimbus clouds rising above as a symbol of his power.  The town of Litochoro paled in comparison.  Of course acts of nature can be described in many ways, scientifically or otherwise. 

These days, perhaps, things are described with such scientific detail that humans think we know everything about these acts.  This process of human dialectical deduction came to us from Aristotle, here in the Macedonian part of Greece, prompting us to ask why and seek the primary causes, "explaining why perishing and coming to be never fail in nature."

Have we found the primary causes?  Science can say that the lightning is electricity caused by differential charges between the clouds and the earth.  The clouds are caused as hot and moist air rises and condenses, forming rain.  The rose color at sunset is Raman scattering of the light through the atmosphere.  But isn't there always another why we have to ask, the why that prompts us to wonder why all these whys exist and the coming to be and passing away just are? 

Or maybe we don't have to ask any questions. 

Maybe we know the primary causes, but they can't be solved scientifically.

The cumulonimbus slowly dropped its purpose upon the fields and disappeared.
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