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October 5, 2009


: Monday, Oct. 5, 9 am.

This morning Maybel is here cleaning the house, and we're talking about the typhoons in the Philippines (her home), the wildfires in California (my home) and the mudslides that wiped out parts of Giampilieri, Briga, Altolia, Molino e Scaletta Zanclea just a few miles away from here. We seem united by suffering and dangerous weather.

One thing that impressed us all is the inappropriateness of the television controversy about who's at fault and who's gonna pay, set against the dignity of those who lost everything they ever had, some even their families. These simple village folks gave us all a lesson in what's important and how to act in times of tragedy.

There's a centuries-old feeling of resignation on this trampled island, invaded and abused by every major power in the area: the Greeks, Normans, Spanish, Moors, and now, some say, the Italians. It's suffered earthquakes (1908 - 200,000 dead (compare that with San Francisco)), fires, floods, heatwaves, etc., and, in the last hundred and fifty years, the substitution of the weak, corrupt central government with the strong, blood-sucking Mafia.

So it's another sad season, and, much as we'd like to mourn indefinitely, life will soon be back to normal (or is this normal?).

As the great Helen Keller said: "Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it."

Happy trials, Martin