Sora Journal

Mountain View

By Talyn A.

I wrote this 350-word piece of creative nonfiction about my visit to Mount Etna in Sicily, written for a year-long independent study writing course called “Hikes & Heroes” taken through a local class space.

Mountain View

I sat there on the main plaza of the town, high up the mountainside. The seemingly endless pitch black sky provided a striking backdrop for the pure white snow-covered summit, the lack of light making the flowing red volcanic flow pop in the darkness.

Taormina's allure was not solely confined to its historic architecture and bustling streets; it lay in the breathtaking natural beauty that enveloped it. Spiky purple cactus fruits, lemon trees, and tomatoes flourished in handmade pots, while community gardens flourished amidst the clean cobblestone roads. The pots resembled the faces of subjects in distinct Sicilian stories, recognizable instantly. The buildings with their courtyards surrounding crumbled ruins told stories of rich history, ancient Sicilians that once thrived in this place. It was a testament to the enduring spirit of the people who called Sicily home, who continued to rebuild their homes after multiple invasions over thousands of years. Despite the passage of time and the ravages of nature, there was a certain beauty in the decay. The city had reclaimed most of these structures, weaving vines and wildflowers through the cracks and crevices, softening their harsh edges with entropy's delicate touch. 

The cacophony of voices and soft footsteps faded into the background until it was just me on a mountainous landmass and the star-speckled expansion of the sky. In that moment, surrounded by the stillness of the night, a sense of peace washed over me. I stood up and leaned on the metal railing, the cool clean mountain air brushed against my face, carrying with it the faint scent of citrus from the nearby planted trees. The faint rumble of distant tides washing against the rocky coastline could be heard, only visible due to the illumination of the lanterns from the small villa road nearby. My eyes followed the slick stone pathway bordering the sea back up to the illumine lava flow. Everything felt connected, one entity working to survive. I felt a surge of immense gratitude to be lucky enough to have my life bring me to that moment. That night has stuck with me since.