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Two days ago we finished the first stage of out indeterminate journey – we made it from Seattle to our winter quarters in Licata, Sicily, where we and Serafina will be until the Mediterranean weather moderates in the spring. We have been on the move for a little over 13 months, and we’ll be adapting to a different sort of life, here in this small Sicilian town.
The marina in Licata is well sheltered, even though a roaring squall this morning, with gusts of perhaps fifty knots, reminded us that there is nothing like perfect protection. The boat next to us lost their dinghy – it just flew off into the wind-whipped waters, and we heeled over at the dock as though we were in a storm at sea. It certainly got Sarah’s attention.
There is a quite active community of wintering sailboat cruisers, overwhelmingly Europeans of one kind or the other. We have yet to see an American boat among the 200 or so moored here, but there are planned classes in Italian, a regular radio net, “happy hours” and a band.
The town itself is a treat. Yesterday we tried to find a pizza for lunch, only to find that no one fires up their pizza oven until the evening. So we ate pasta with squid ink, pasta with assorted seafood, and pasta “aglio olio” – accompanied by an antipasto we shared around – in a crowded stone room, festooned with what seemed like family treasures, and then listened to a man practicing operatic singing as we made through narrow streets on our way back to the boat.
We’re looking forward to some visits here – Mark Halgren will be arriving in a few days, Howard and Nora in November, and perhaps some others as well.
A big part of what we do this winter will be trying to understand what it means to be “retired.” It hasn’t really been something to think about for the last year, since we’ve been pretty steadily either under way, or preparing to get under way, or resting up from the last stretch of vigorous sailing.
Serafina has had some wear and tear, and painting, varnishing and minor repairs and upgrades will take some time. Our intention to achieve some level of competence at Italian will also fill plenty of hours. But, fundamentally, what are our goals?
People sometimes joke about “Catholic guilt” – but the sense that life should serve some broader purpose exists way beyond churches. What is our purpose? Do we need one, or should we just take lessons from the two dogs we saw sleeping on a lawn near the marina yesterday afternoon?
It should be an interesting winter, and we’ll post some reports on life in Licata. I still contend it is the model for “Vigata” – the small Sicilian town in the wonderful stories by Andrea Camilleri, but others disagree. We’ll try to sort that out. I could be wrong. I remember, once, back in 1983, I was wrong – but that may have been the result of a misunderstanding…