Friday, March 16, 2007

Initiation Into The Rhythm

Having arrived in Sicily, I am getting quickly acquainted. For initiation into the rythym, every morning, bright and early, a singing sheepherder with his dogs and flock pass by my little house on a hillside. As sun floods in the windows and I step out on the shaded veranda, I look below and see the little town of Bonagia hugging the mountainous coast.
My first painting is at the shipyard, among rotting hulks of old boats lined up on the shore. The view I choose is out across the harbor to a spectacular promontory called Monte Cofano, a mountain that looks like a colossal castle rising from a point jutting into the sea.
Although I finish my painting late in the day, excitement gets the better of me and so I get in my midget car, and race up the winding hills to find Erice. As the road climbs, and the sun sinks, the scenery becomes eerie. With each kilometer, it seems I go further back in time. Wisps of cool fog envelope the rocky slopes dotted with spindly blackened pine trees standing in sparse clusters.
At the top, I park near massive stone walls, older than Christ, that surround the town. It is eerily quiet, except for the occasional laughter of groups of Italian teens on visits from schools. The narrow streets hold the same polished stones from centuries ago, painstakingly placed in attractive patterns between neat rows of stone buildings. No cars are allowed. With my first steps, immediately I want more time to explore, but the sun is now almost set, and I know if I go further into the maze of labyrinthal passages I will be in danger of getting lost—like Alice falling into a rabbit hole of time, and might not get out.

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