I have arrived in Sicily.

The island is as alluring as ever – her beauty evident even behind the scars of unpredictable infrastructure, a misshapen political history, her faltering economy. Still Sicily is Sicily. She cannot be undone.

Myth tells us that this place, the largest island in Mediterranean, is “Persephone’s Island.” That goddess of the both underworld and of spring made Sicily her home. It doesn’t take long to see that the duality of death and rebirth is woven into the cultural psyche. It is even evident in the geography of Sicily’s barren interior and her fertile coast. Sicily is complex. She has takes hold of the heart and seizes the mind.

As I stand now amidst the olive groves, fragrant with ripe pears, mulberries and plums, I am reminded of a love that comes in the form of simple and direct pleasures. The grain is being cut and baled. Tomatoes mature under an unforgiving summer sun. Capers grow wild. Brambles of blackberries line the roads and fields where sheep graze and wild porcupines steal melons under a crescent moon. This is where I come to know what poet Derek Walcott calls “Love after Love.” Here, I am a greeted with the invocation, “Sit. Feast on your life.”

So now, surrounded equally by shadow and stone, I remember. I restore.

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