According to Homer, Eolo—Italian for Greek mythology’s Aeolus, ruler of the wind— lived on the volcanic Aeolian islands off the north coast of Sicily and was a favorite among the Greek gods. He gave Odysseus a wine bag filled with wind to speed his historic voyage home. Nearly there, Odysseus’s curious crew opened the bag, the winds escaped and their ship was pulled back to the Sicilian archipelago.
When I think about Sicily, my sensory memories of childhood summers come flooding back: the heat of scorching sun, the view of shooting stars in August, the taste of salt when swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, and the scent of the wind, which delivered the hot scirocco breeze from Africa in the desert-like summers. The air carried warm aromas of bread baking at the nearby panificio, dried shrubs burning to fertilize the soil and garlic and herbs from my neighbors’ kitchens. All of these smells arrived at my balcony window thanks to my imaginary friend, Eolo. ~Melissa