Thursday, 13 December 2012

Santa Lucia I


The apartment was chilly when I woke up, but thankfully the heating hadn't broken. I'd accidentally switched it off last night without realising. Rain was falling copiously and cloud obscuring the horizon and the mountains overhead. Last night, I washed some clothes and put out a shirt and some trousers to drip damp dry overnight. When I rescued them they'd had an extra rinsing. The weather is forecasted to stay like this for several days to come. I laughed out loud at the short scripture reading for Lauds. It opens: "Rain righteousness you heavens, let the skies above pour down ..." I'll have to pick my moment to go out and inspect the Christmas preparations.

Today is Santa Lucia, though her festival is only observed with with style in Syracusa where she was martyred in 304AD, not further afield. Syracus is a city with a 2,700 year history. It's where Archimedes, archtypal scientist and inventor was born and worked when the place was in Greek hands five centuries before Lucia met her death in Diocletian's reign of terror. Norma called me to check if I'd made a rendezvous with Soeur Tarcisia for tonight's ecumenical meeting at the Duomo, and said that Syracusa, two hours travel south of here, was the most rewarding of all places to visit for its history and buildings, with free parking on arrival, if going by car, a bonus. Perhaps a family outing in the last week of the year?

The rain eased around midday, so I went out to get some olive oil and dates. Decorations were finished as far as piazza Sant Agostino, also the Christmas tree. Rain suddenly poured again with a vengeance on a newly-weds descending the steps from Sant Giuseppe with a milling crowd of guests. Scores of umbrellas went up in an instant. Bride and groom plus many others made a dash for the sheltering arch of the adjacent Porta Medio. I lost sight of the happy couple under cover of an umbrella gridlock. A few moments later, members of the bridal party took shelter in the beautifully stylish foyer of the Hotel Metropole the other side of the arch, leaving the remaining guests to walk up the southern stretch of the Corso under their brollies. I caught them again on camera after shopping, just as they were leaving the hotel, escorted to their car by a sword bearing best man in military ceremonial dress, grinning from ear to ear.

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