rough draft written on October 4 in flight as I was leaving Sicily…polished up today…
I’m being carried off, further and further from Sicily. Next to me sits an elderly Italian couple. I sit back, feign sleep, just so I can simply listen to their beautiful singsong language. The rhythm and cadences of their words are the most comforting of sounds. I feel as if they are my parents, their voices whispering deep in to the night. Late at night, the child I once was used to listen to my parents’ voices as I drifted from one secure world of love into another world of dreams.
As I listen to my flight-neighbors, I remember the fruit my aunt packed for me. I pull out a peach from my bag and sink my teeth into Sicily, my mouth fills with the taste of sunshine. So at 50 years of age, I learn that not only can a peach be sweet, but that the simple peach can also hold all of Sicily! I suddenly see my aunt and uncle tending to their orchard. I see the peach tree struggling from this year’s record breaking high temperatures and severe drought. I see my peach being picked with loving hands, I smell its perfume. I see Nora washing it at Uncle Charlie’s kitchen sink so that I can eat it right now in flight. At 50 I learn that the humble sweet peach can also produce a cascade of salty tears, rivulets of memories.
As I eat my peach, I see the roots of the peach tree entangled with my own Sicilian roots. Crazy peach! I eat it and I feel embraced by my Sicilian family. I feel my parents’ dreams, both realized and unrealized, embedded in this peach.
I already miss the passionate discussions of nothing and everything, the kind words, the beautiful expressions of the Sicilian dialect (“detti luci a 10 carusi” translates to “She gave light to 10 children” which refers to giving birth), the vulgar words, the superstitions and old wives’ tales, the fear of drafts (!), the wine, the meals, the sun, the morning coffee, the kisses and hugs, the complexity of this ancient culture, the simplicity, generosity, the kindness of the Sicilian mountain country folk, their stories, and their heaps of love!