Taormina

The path of stones is crowded with wild parsley, yellow sour grass, pink and magenta sweet peas, prickly pear cactus.

The stones are uneven, the path built on an ancient trail dating back a thousand years.

At the end, what will we find?

There are many stories, but the one I like best includes a wild storm, taking shelter in a cave, and a mystical vision.

Wandering the streets and trails and pathways and byways of Taormina and its environs, beauty stops us again and again, astonishing, ever present, from the looming presence of Mount Etna, an active volcano that has been rather more active of late, to the massing clouds overhead, to the brilliant Mediterranean light, to the ruins of the Ancient Greek theater in the heart of the town center.

Later in the day I will stand on the edge of the ruins and look north, east, and south, gazing as long as I can, before finally sitting on the top rung of seats and pulling out my sketchbook.

Just 10 minutes, I say, and that’s exactly what I do – ten minutes of sketching after an hour of looking.

Blue Sky, purple mountain, ruined stone wall, columns in half light, the deep green of the Italian cypress – and there the minutes have flown by.

The wind snatches the pages of my sketchbook and Mount Etna ripples, the sky drips into the greenery, the shadows merge with light.

So be it.

No storm, no refuge, no mysticism.

Just taking in a day with all my senses.

Taking time to look, to record, to listen and smell and taste, and all the while I am thinking, remember this.

Remember this.

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