Summer was winding down, which meant that there were millions of tomatoes that needed something done with them if they were going to be of any use after the season had passed.
This couple, whom we met walking through their village, was going to spend the afternoon canning their tomato crop, saving the flavors of summer for winter pasta.
This is probably a good place to mention that the food we had in Sicily was so, so good. It was all fresh, all things that were in season. I tasted – and loved – things I wouldn’t have even considered prior to my visit. Octopus salad? Delicious. Mackerel on couscous with mint sauce? Delicious. Caponata (a regional favorite of eggplant, tomatoes, celery, olives)? Delicious. Pasta with pistachios? Delicious.
You get the idea.
And the thing is that if I’d been there a month later, two weeks earlier, or literally any other time that that very moment we visited, the menus would have been different, as they continually shift to include things that are fresh. I wonder what deliciousness I missed? Obviously the only way to find that out is to go back and stay for….say…a whole year. For research.
Now I don’t know for sure that the resident up there on the second floor hung out the laundry when they did in order to get a shaft on sunlight on it while it dried. All I know for sure is that when I saw it hanging there above my head, the sun was shining on the clean clothes and was not shining on much else.
I have to say that my town seems really boring after experiencing the vibrant life on Palermo’s narrow streets. The dullness of it makes me miss Sicily. It makes me miss Sicily quite a bit.
The church in Ragusa Ibla – the Duomo di San Giorgio – is stunning. Look it up; you’ll see what I mean. It’s on a lot of Sicilian tourism brochures.
In a stunning departure from what my previous photographic self would have done, instead of making a bunch of photos of the building, I spent my time watching these two kids playing in drifts of left-over confetti on the church steps. And photographing them, hoping to catch just the right moment with them and their game.
And, also, how about that one kid’s fedora?
Ragusa Ibla, Sicily
Our roving band of photographers spent a long time one afternoon at the Palermo harbor photographing four or five people who were fishing. They didn’t seem to mind that we were back there, working all the things (light! framing! angles! exposure!) that photographers like to mess around with. In fact, at one point, they even showed us the white bucket that held their catch and we had a nice conversation with them (even though they didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Italian).
We’d actually gone to the harbor in hopes of getting some glorious sunset photos; when it became apparent that wasn’t going to work out, we turned our focus (so to speak) elsewhere. And that’s a good lesson: even if the thing you thought you were going to photograph doesn’t work out, something else will show up to fill the void. And honestly, this photo is way better than anything sunset-related would have been.
I got my start as a photographer by way of a long project where I documented roadside crosses and other memorials; I think all the years of being always-vigilant for those locations has permanently set my brain to seek out similar things. I don’t think I am actively looking for them, but there were numerous times in Palermo that I’d glance over at a wall and there’d be a shrine right there, as thought it had been expecting me.