I mentioned earlier that I was planning a girls' weekend sometime early this year. We had decided shortly before Christmas to go to Rome in late February as it was one of the few places that met all of the long list of complicated criteria from my dear friends. However, in the end, we decided that we would hold off on Rome in February and plan something later when the weather is warmer.

For a variety of reasons, I feel like I am always fighting to be home in Munich with limited success. Perhaps it is just a temporary frustration, the result of a rocky few weeks where I am being flung far and wide with no immediate end in sight. Or maybe the seemingly endless travel for work that drags me away time and again from home. And the growing concern that if I wanted to stop all of this, I would really struggle to survive with a different career in Munich. Not to mention, the ever present reminders of my passion to explore new places and a sense that that might never go away and continue to carry me away. I wonder how much longer I will fight against the tide to be here?

These feelings reminded me that one thing I wanted to do while living in such a central location in Europe, was to visit at least once all the countries where my ancestors emigrated from. I had an amazing first visit to Poland last year. I have also been to Italy a few times already but I have long wanted to make a trip to Sicily where my paternal grandmother's family came from. So, I am very much excited to have booked a long weekend in May to explore a little bit of Sicily! So far it is just me and my camera going (that's enough in my book!) but there is a good possibility another friend of mine from the States, also of Sicilian decent, will be able to work the trip in around a business trip to London.

Inspired by the island...


A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
i o And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,

Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.

And voices in me said, If you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.

And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.

He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther,
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
Overcame me now his back was turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.

And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.

D.H. Lawrence
Taormina, 1923

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