I was reminded of Kipling’s words when just a few minutes after this sighting of rubbish in the street we were seated in the place you can see in the second photograph, gazing on a scene of serenity and beauty.
Every time I come to Sicily there is a period of adaptation when for a while everything seems foreign, I don’t know the rules/conventions and it seems very hard to find beauty and grace here.
Always, just 48 hours later people have come forward to make it clear to us what is going on and how things are organised – from getting your washing done to finding the best places to visit or eat.
And there always are such sights and places, it’s just that often they don’t hove into view without an effort. You could not accuse this country of being manicured in the way I sometimes experience France or subject to the same degree of dominance by big stores as I see in the UK.
The place in the lower photograph is not more than 400 metres from the first but is up a vine-lined alley, next to a lemon grove with only the sign Baia dei Fenici (Bay of the Phoenicians) to indicate its presence. There we sat and gazed over the bay watching the boats go to and fro and eating lovely pasta and seafood for 12 Euros a head, sinking as Pirandello says, ‘up to our elbows in comfort’.
This is simply acknowledgment of the light and dark sides of the same place or idea. It is now up to me to find empathy and engagement with both sides in the vote that has so divided our country.
Why was I content to remain? Well, the trickle-down theory worked OK for me and my like because many of us are linked through our work to the success of large companies. We profit from these same companies from our fees and project work. So I am relatively financially comfortable.
And I favour the idea of belonging to something bigger than myself. I cherish the idea of being part of a union of the ideals of peace, social justice and helping each other out. But to my shame I have done nothing to reach out to the less fortunate in other parts of my own country, other than our Talk For Health work in Islington.
If I did not have these connections, nor a job in public service, how could i make ends meet & build a sense of my value and belonging? It might be tempting to run away, to bury my problems.