There is a cross, high on a hill, in a place called Girgenti. It has long been a place of worship, a place of pilgrimage. But, most importantly, it is a place of utter solitude. That’s one of the places where the wind took my Mischief Maker and I last Friday.
We drove, through a road so narrow that I thought my little car’s sides would be scraped by the rubble walls, and inched our way slowly about three quarters of the way up the hill. Then we came to the end of the surfaced road. My tyres spun uselessly on slippery cobblestones. It was time to stop the car (in an entrance to a field) and walk.
At the base of the limestone plinth, on which the cross is mounted, we stopped to catch our breath. Carved in the stone were the names of hundreds. I wondered what drove them to do that – was it thoughtless vandalism or the very human desire to leave their mark on something more permanent than human life?
Heaven seemed so close up there that I felt I could reach up and touch it. Before us, the view stretched out for miles; far, far out to the shimmering sea.
It was idyllic. But seven-year-olds have no time for idle nonsense. We were soon walking around, creating fantastic stories and dreaming wild dreams. We came across so much prettiness up there, so many signs of spring, that I was reluctant to leave. But other places beckoned. There was more exploring to be done …
Although this has nothing to do with what I wrote above, I could not resist sharing the photo below. This is what I saw from our balcony when I drew back the curtain this morning.
Looming on the horizon, majestic Mt Etna seemed larger than life. This is the first time that I have seen the mighty volcano from these shores. I guess all the atmospheric conditions that are required for her to reveal herself to us, about 75 miles away, were in place. Or the stars were perfectly aligned. Or it was just our lucky day.