At night before going to bed we sat on the terrace gazing at the starlit sky. There was not much illumination in my town at the time, and in the countryside there was no power at all. We had an oil-fueled power supplier in the house in Pollicarini, but we used it only on special occasions. So we put our oil lamp on the marble top of the kitchen table, set two chairs on the terrace near the walnut heap, and sat, just watching the sky.
Moths thronging around the glass of the oil lamp cast their shadows on the walls of the kitchen. The moths’ shadows projected on the walls looked much bigger than their actual size and made a pyrotechnic display that mesmerized me. From time to time our dogs barked at other roaming animals or passersby, and the sky seemed an immense blue space where every kind of heavenly body twinkled. There were so many spots of light that even counting to a billion would not be enough. Some sources of light were very bright, while others were barely visible. Sometimes meteors appeared and disappeared, streaking the vault of heaven.
Sebastiano taught me the constellations and the influence of the moon on the earth. “Whenever I sow a field with wheat,” he said, “I consider the cycle of the moon. You cannot sow a field at random, but only when the moon is waxing. In that way the seeds absorb energy from the moon and the seedlings will be strong.”
“Today is August fifteenth,” Sebastiano said one night, “and in the neighborhood of Fundrisi in Enna they are celebrating the mid-August feast of the Madonna.”
“What kind of celebration is it?”
“Tradition says that Mary, Jesus’s mother, didn’t die, unlike all other human creatures. She fell asleep and the angels took her to heaven.”
This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind