Picture from http://stellasur.com/articles_7_Sicily.html
I have many memories of Sicily; they live in the corners of my mind and poke at me when something familiar, like the scent of baking bread, tickles my senses. Then the movie in my head, the one that stars this jewel of the Mediterranean, speaks to me like a dear old friend. I see the young girl I once was, hair flying in the warm wind, straddling the back of a Vespa, speeding through narrow, winding roads, the glitter of the sea seen in glimpses as I carom in and out of a white-washed-building-spattered landscape and the occasional thicket of wild olive trees.
The Vespa in my mind evolves into a small Fiat packed like sardines with family and friends, ascending and plunging over the hills of volcanic streets while hugging the curves with Formula-One-like maneuvers. If I close my eyes, I can see the orange trees whizzing by, and the open window that lets in centuries old fragrant gusts -- relished smells of old stone buildings, sweet country wine, and, yes, that savory peasant bread that started this all in the first place. The Mediterranean hugs the landscape as we drive higher on the rocky cliffs. The bright sun glares off the arid terrain and makes halos over the hot-pink bougainvillea flowers. I glimpse a crumbling Greco-Roman ruin and a gray-stoned, medieval castle in the distance.
Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can smell the air. Citrus. Jasmine. I can almost imagine opening my eyes to the view of Mt. Etna smoking in the distance. The sea surrounding it is always bluer than topaz. And it is the same view my ancestors witnessed. I think to myself, Yes, I have been here before when my ancestors watched the volcano spew its lazy plume of smoke; when they dreamed their dreams while looking out at the sea's horizon. I have been here many times... because they all still live in me.