[October 24 2017]
Suffering from heat and nausea for several hours in a row, finally I’m approaching the Island. As soon as the sun disappears behind the flat top of volcano, the noon is turning into a sunset not even having time to arise. In this light the ash-black sand of the shore is merging with the blackness of the sea, forming an image of a solar eclipse in the middle of a summer day. Suddenly I am freezing. Looking in her eyes I can see Her freezing too. The nausea recedes, leaving a place for voiceless admiration. All the colors disappear; the shadows merge with the ground.
A gangway takes us to the coast. This is Stromboli – a small island to the north of Sicily – a piece of soot in Tyrrhenian Sea. The fearsome top of the volcano can be seen here from all locations. As we walk by along the coastline, a silent delight accompanies every look in its direction. Claiming the power of uncontrolled chaos of nature, its violent presence uncovers the closeness of death in its both conceptions: atheistic and religious. Destructive eruptions and constant attempts of locals to start a new life here are the payments for watching this weird beauty and a testimony of their endless strength.
An example of the common brutality and living in a dark dream is illustrated in the early film by Roberto Rossellini “Stromboli, Land of God“, which affirms whether the triumph of atheism, or the triumph of the divine – the choice made by every islander here by himself. In this contrast black and white movie there is an episode where the ferret released from the cage cruelly kills the rabbit, this violent scene is the director’s method, projecting the destiny of a young woman, who could not cope with the endless silent threat of the rock. The cinematic realism shown is everyday reality here.
The pressure of this giant cauldron and its speechless gaze are felt here every second, and with the onset of darkness it becomes absolutely demonic. The crucial thing this neighborhood could conversely teach and it finally does – the triumph of life and the joy of current existence. That’s what all its opaque transforms into. With these on mind I sail back to the continent at night and tightly squeeze Her hand. The Island disappears in dark and white foam flashes under the cabin light as the waves gently clash the boat.
Text and photo Timur Arshba