Noon, the least favorite part of my day. Heat pressing down like a broad, heavy hand. The day spinning on, mindless in sun and shadows. Bright threads of sunlight tangle in Mojito’s rigging. She seems to waver like a mirage, wanting to slip her mooring lines and float free.
But my favorite day does not begin in a sultry haze.
Sicily is hot in summer. So close to North Africa and the Sahara Desert you can touch the sandy continent.
Each morning the sun unsuccessfully tries to chase me up at 5am. Marching to the beat of a different drummer, I snuggle moments longer between warm sheets. Lingering between dreams and wakefulness.
Buona giornata! You will miss the best things in life if you keep your eyes shut, sweetie.
Pulling on a string bikini and shorts I grab my bike. The sun tickle my naked back, the wheels sing. I’m heading to the neighboring town of Donnalucata. Sicily is extremely fertile, although it looks dry. Neat fields of tomatoes, aubergines, melons, grapes, beans and orchids line the country road.
I’m glad for state of the art shocks on my bike as there are potholes which are badly repaired in places. Blackberries and capers grow in wild profusion between the stone walls. Stopping to catch my breath I pick a handful. Purple sweet sun-baked juices ran down my chin.
The village of Donnalucata looks neglected. Weeds grow in gutters and in cracks on the pavements. Then I stop and look a little closer. Notice the purple Bougainvillea growing over yellow limestone walls. Green shuttered windows, the smell of freshly baked pastries and coffee. Old woman shuffling home, woven grass baskets swing in the crook of their arms. A baguette peaking over the rim. Red tomatoes, purple aubergines, fresh basil and oregano tied with string.
They stop for a chat with a friend leaning over a crumbling wall. A cat lazing in a window. Pink and red geraniums in terra-cotta pots. Clean laundry flutter in the breeze. Suspended on sagging lines between two balconies.
The men, doubtlessly chased out of the house by their wives, sits on old wooden paint chipped kitchen chairs on the street corner. A piece of square board balanced on their knees. Playing a complicated game of cards, while chewing on stubs of cigars.
Back in our town of Marina di Ragusa, I lean my bike against a railing, strip off my sweaty shorts and splash into the warm Mediterranean Sea. Another favorite. To swim in the ocean. Restoring my sense of wellbeing. Revitalizing a tired body.
Hungry I return to the boat. Juicy figs, melon, grapes and pears dipped in homemade yogurt flavored with lemon scented honey for breakfast.
A new favorite day.
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