It was Mnarja eve. In days gone by, young couples would hitch their donkey, or their mule, to a cart and ride to Buskett, to celebrate a festival which, although heavily Christianized, has its roots entrenched in paganism: Luminaria – the feast of lights.
It was Mnarja eve. The Mischief Maker had a party and my husband had a work function. I was free for a couple of hours, free to do as I pleased. So I took my camera for a walk in the grid-like streets of Valletta. It is strange, our capital city, enclosed as it is by its massive walls. While other cities sprawl and grow, ours has remained the same for centuries. I parked right in front of the monastery of St Ursula, home to an order of cloistered nuns and, as always, wondered what it felt like to live forever in seclusion. From there I wandered, without rhyme or reason, just hoping to discover the je ne sais quoi.
It was Mnarja eve. Some streets were deserted – left to their shadows; left to their dreams. I eavesdropped behind the open doors of a church as the sound of the evening hymns floated lazily towards the cornflower-blue sky.
I walked down steps and across bridges; beneath the unseeing eyes of long-dead saints; past decaying brothels of yesteryear; until I reached the harbour and the vast expanse of the open sea. The sea – always the sea; never far from my thoughts and forever in my dreams.
It was Mnarja eve. I shook myself out of my reverie and reluctantly put my camera away. It was time to pick the Mischeif Maker up. Time to exchange dreams for reality.
Location: Valletta, June 2013