It wasn’t the best of times growing up in Sicily in the 50’s. To make ends meet, my father would take me to my mom’s olive groves in the outskirts of our village to pick olives. We laid sheets, shook the branches and, on our knees, bunched up the olives. Before sunset, we put them in bags to carry on our backs on the narrow paths back to the village. I was proud to be useful but, after a while, the bag started to wear on me like a boulder. With tender encouragement (and my father would carry two bags instead of one), a few stops, and an immeasurable desire not to fail, we made it back to the frantoio before dark where the olives would be crushed into a couple of liters of oil.
It was also a time when I truly felt alive. Sensing that I was bored and tired of picking olives, my father would let me wander freely. There I was climbing the stone terraces mesmerized by what seemed to be a serpent but was only the skin it had left behind on the way to a rebirth. There I was jumping down the stone terraces to satisfy my thirst with the limpid whisper of a stream where there was a valley that I could not see. There I was hiding in a stone hut imagining that it would be my permanent home. There I was stunned by the rustling of the wind. There I was stilled by the sudden silence. In stillness, I realized I was not alone and that God was having a conversation with me.
Camminando sulla sabbia Il tumulto delle onde Ricordano un silenzio Lontano interrotto Dal fruscio del vento Negli uliveti aridi Compagni di un Dialogo con Dio
Walking on the sand The tumult of the waves Remember a silence Far interrupted By the rustling of the wind In the arid olive groves Companions of a Dialogue with God