Admin Note: No doubt it’s operator error … but … what I try to create visually (layout) in the “draft” portion of this software is “not always” what shows up in the “published” version. Photography can simply “zip” all over the place. Gaps of “blank space” can appear. I’ll always try to close a BLOG post with “until next time” (or something similar) …so …scroll until you find that and you’ll know you’re done.
It happened last year many thousands of feet above sea level…atop Mt. Etna while I was watching the “teams” work on a volcanic challenge. So … there we were about 500 meters underground, in the depths of a seemingly endless salt deposit that was formed some 6 million years ago (so…so…sooooo very hard to wrap your mind, let alone your arms around the magnitude of that number) and WHAMMO…right out of left field … like being hit in the head by a pop fly while you’re not paying attention to the game because you’re admiring the hotdog you just decorated with a with some sort of “Expressionism” cacophony of condiments …WHAMMO .. my “long gone from this Earth” mother shows up for another impromptu reunion. My mom was a bit of a 1930’s enigma/rebel/out-of-the-box kinda gal. A valedictorian “geologist” from Bryn Mawr. Growing up with mom …whether walking down a city street … or tromping around anywhere …just because tromping around is what you do … she always made sure that I didn’t miss the little things. So … she stooped by just to make sure I didn’t miss anything in this fascinating geological marvel. She asked me to remember to “always touch,” “try to smell,” “rub or scrape” ..and so on. So for a few moments …in a torrent of flashbacks I was in a couple hundred different places at the same time …”reaching to do what my mom always asked me to do.” (If this makes any sense). I ran my hand on these walls that were some kind of geological tapestry of light and dark colors salt and clay … I touched, rubbed, scraped … and smelled (yes, you could actually “smell” the salt) … I did my best, mom. Without getting to soppy here, I had to choke it back for a couple of minutes. (Signora Lucia is a mom ..somehow sensed it … and provided a reassuring hand on the back) Mom pulled this stunt on me last year…. but I was sitting on the lip of a crater…all by my lonesome …so the “watershed” event was completely personal. This time … I’m in the “essence of claustrophobia” … 1,500 feet underground … in a salt mine …really! …. “not” alone by any means. It’s simply amazing how much pain you must inflict on yourself by biting your tongue to stem the “flood” of emotions during a Deja Vu. Mom … you are, were, and always will be … the Salt of the Earth. Make no mistake … although there was no way to circumvent the obvious “pun” … none was intended.
Ok …. so how are the “studenti” …in a word … fabulous. Attacking challenges with vigor … representing “mom, apple pie, and the girl/by next door” about as well as anyone could imagine. Yesterday’s trip to the Piazza Armerina (4th century CE Roman villa) was almost and “impossible dream.” 18 … rising 9th graders exploring one of the greatest displays of mosaics on this planet, referring to iPad maps and background, searching a particular scene on the Piazza floor. Wow! And …get this!! … You almost could have heard a pin drop. FOR REAL! One of many … makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck moments that seem to be “just another day” normalities on the Odissea Italiana. A few captioned photos to follow: