My journey through the paradise that is Sicilia has taken me to Costa della Provincia di Agrigento which in English is the Coastal Area of Agrigento Province. I am at San Leone Lido di Agrigento in a charming cottage with a great view out to the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a brisk windswept day. The climate is cooler on this side of the island. The terrain is gentler with rolling hills of cultivated grape, fields of wheat and an abundance of quiet. The plant life on this island must be incredibly adaptable to strong shifts in climate. The day can be bracing, simmering, petulant or blazing. The nights are cool and misty. The roots of the plants must go deep to find the water and anchor into the soil. The branches must sway or be cracked to bits. The flowers, so delicate and sweet must tremble with the wind or be dashed by it. Hmm, it occurs to me the people of Sicilia must also be so, strong to the roots and flexible to what can happen in life.
This morning, I walked upon the immense formation at Scala dei Turchi. This is an enormous cliff face of a mineral that is chalky in appearance. It’s limestone? I am not sure the mineralized structure. It rises from the seabed and rolls up to the plane above. The substance is firm, a little like marble that has been sculpted by wind, rain and sea. In my life, I’ve never seen something as grand and beautiful. Nothing compares to the natural grace and wonder of Scala dei Turchi. The sea rushes to the shore spilling over rocky formations in the water that are just under the surface, rising and sinking with the tides. The formations make for great walkways out into the shoreline. Perhaps they are carved from something more ancient. This area has been lived in for thousands of years by many different groups, but of particular, this was part of Greece.
As much as I admired the cliffs that resemble steps and had visions of being brave and climbing up quite high, what did I see? I saw this tiny little fresh water stream as I was walking towards the steps. There’s an old saying about rivers rushing to the sea. Isn’t it written somewhere that all water wants to return to the sea? In that the sea is the source of all life and even the fresh waters in the brooks desire to travel back to the source. Here it is, the sweetest little stream appeared as I was walking toward the massive cliff face. I could hear the little trickling and stopped to admire its landing. A small stream continued towards the sea. It was trickling through the soil and forming stalactites. It made it!
What a day! Standing on the shore feeling the rhythm of the sea and winds take over and sweep away any deliberation in thought. The glory in gazing out from the cliffs out to the gorgeous palette of cerulean, aquamarine, turquoise and celadon. I saw dark large swirls of something in the water, as there were no clouds in the sky today, I think it might have been schools of fish just under the surface, forming and dispersing quickly in the turbulent waters. The only thing that slightly mattered was a vague awareness of nothingness. There was only earth, sea, sun and sky. There was only a cliff that rose up and filled the space. The steps are carved by the wind and sun for some nautical god to scale onto the land. Who would come out of the sea to meet Sicilia? Who would be worthy of her?
Sicilia is feminine energy. She is Gaia. This is the land of Demeter, Persephone, Artemisia and Arethusa. Perhaps that little stream is Arethusa. I met her in Ortygia and found her journey led here. Arethusa was a nymph who was being harassed by the river-god Alpheus. She appealed to Artemisia for help and was transformed into a stream. So, she traveled along enjoying a tour of Sicily before joining the sea.
The cliff has to be one of the natural wonders I’ve had the privilege to see. Here I am looking out at the young olive grove swaying under a cool midday sun. The sea fills the horizon. The flycatchers swoop and swirl through the alleys. The fragrance of jasmine is everywhere. There is no time, no place and nothing that matters anymore. Sicily is everything I wish I could be.
Written by Frances Ann Wychorski May 23, 2015