|Sunset at the Saline Ettore Infersa |
taken from the ferry landing to the island of Motya
"Cu' voli puisia venga in Sicilia" (collected proverbs Giuseppe Pitre')
An ancient Sicilian proverb says, "if you are searching for poetry, come to Sicily". In Sicily, poetry is everywhere. It's in the air, perfumed with orange blossoms and salt and a faint but unmistakeable hint of spices of the Levant; it's in the warmth of the sun, and the intensity of its colors-- red oleanders, cobalt waters and ocher sands. Like Odysseus called by the sirens' songs, the island casts an inescapable spell on travelers.
|My sons fishing at San Vito Lo Capo, Trapani|
As a child, following our initial move to the United States, my mother and I would return to Sicily every summer until the start of school year. With each return, the memory of stepping off the plane at Punta Rais airport in Palermo is imprinted in my psyche. I vividly recall being greeted by the intoxicating fragrances of the island, the smell of sea and salt and spice. Descending the plane's stairs to the tarmac below, a wave of soft warm air embraced me as if to welcome me home.
One memory in particular stands out for me. The very first time we returned to Sicily, my mother and I stepped off the plane to find our entire family waiting for us--some 60 people or more! They had rented buses and come to the airport to welcome us back, and, amid tears and kisses and embraces, my mother and I rediscovered our homeland and re-connected to our souls.