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preparing for the move

“How weird that my eyes are so sweaty.” -actual thought I had, standing on that church balcony.

Our group was in Bivona, Sicily, on the feast day for the their patron saint, Santa Rosalia. Following Mass, the church members prepared to move the saint from her niche in the front of the church. Later that day, men of the town would carry her on their shoulders as they processed through the narrow streets. It was the first time they’d been able to hold the Mass and procession since 2019. It was clearly an emotional event.

Through our outstanding tour leader, Allison Scola, from Experience Sicily, we had remarkable access to the day’s events, including getting to watch the process of moving Santa Rosalia from a vantage point that gave us a unique view.

And this is the part I cannot explain – and I’ve been trying to understand it every day since it happened. The faith shown by the townspeople seemed so pure, so real, so honest, so truthful, so much a part of their lives. It was the most honest expression of faith (and maybe even of Faith, since that’s two different things, perhaps) that I have ever witnessed. I didn’t understand what anyone was saying. I don’t have any particular knowledge of Catholic traditions. I am generally a skeptical person. But this: it wasn’t so much that my eyes were sweating. It was in fact tears, tears I couldn’t stop, tears I was surprised to be shedding, tears at the beauty, the faith that I was witnessing.

I still don’t understand it in ways that I can write down. But, I know what I saw. I know how it impacted me. I know I will never be the same.

And that’s a lot.

Chiesa Parrocchiale di Santa Rosalia
Bivona, Sicily
photographed 9.4.2022

boat, clinging to the day

Our quartet of roving photographers had been down to the harbor earlier in the day, and we went back hoping for a dramatic sunset. And while we didn’t get that, we did get a chance to photograph the last bits of light as they slid across the boats and the water and all the other things.

Palermo, Sicily
photographed 8.30.2022

market needlework

My mom made all of my clothes (except for my Girl Scout uniforms and swim suits). And while I absolutely did not get her abilities for or interest in sewing, I appreciate the art involved.

And maybe that’s why these clothes (which were hanging from a metal panel that had a bit of a makeshift look to it) at a Sicilian market caught my attention. But, really, though, why would anyone overlook that delicate pink and white edging on that sleeve?

La Vucciria Market
Palermo, Sicily
photographed 8.30.2022

cleaned fish

Just the night before, these fish had been swimming around in the Mediterranean. And when I saw them, they were being cleaned (quickly, by someone with a lot of practice) before maybe heading across the market to the man wearing a red apron frying up platters of fish.

La Vucciria Market
Palermo, Sicily
photographed 8.30.2022

old + new

So, while I have broken through my own personal barrier and have begun to include people in my photos, I still didn’t want to include people who were tourists in my images from the Valley of the Temples. (Habits die hard and etc.) Because it’s the top tourist destinations in Sicily, I sort of set myself up for…failure? disappointment?

But this kid ran by and I broke my own rule.

Valley of the Temples
Agrigento, Sicily
photographed 9.32.2022

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