The Immortality of the Lobster / L'immortalità dell'aragosta
“When i asked what
colour Stromboli was.”
There are places that answer questions, others that instead insistently force us to ask ourselves, as well as others, what we are looking for.
Stopping, bowing, kneeling, lowering ourselves to ground level to better see how great what's over our heads can be and discovering ourselves small enough to have the courage to ask one more time. Climbing to the top of the mountain and believing ourselves immortal and even bigger than we had started.
Whether you come to a spot for a short time or stay until you die, there are places that make you give in to your nature, pause or simply rediscover the slow and steady breath of someone who wishes they had more than two eyes and more than one heart to carry the wonder that surrounds them. At the end of the journey, no matter the length, the answers will always be different, because different are the human emotions that escape the moods of time and cling to those moments composed of the people and the land.
I asked what colour Stromboli was and I found myself submerged in white, not the white of houses but of the pure men who, many years ago and still today, choose it to paint their fear of the dark. And the colour that is not a colour at all, is filled with everything and the whole.
When I first touched the black of Stromboli, passing by sea, I felt the smallness of my being a human being, while in the meantime all the pieces of myself, scattered and left in the world, found themselves drawn to the magnetism of an island surrounded by a volcano. Because in Stromboli, the mountain contains it, makes it its own, rendering it evanescent and rarefied with that cloud that makes even thoughts damp. And when that happens, if you travel to give thanks, the volcano can become at once a furnace for human regrets and an altar of a peace so often sought while travelling.
On the island, the mountain slides into the chasm while the fishermen, white and bearded, come in from the sea and, as if in a slow and sacred procession, stand in reverent silence, untangling their nets and speaking of the immortality of the lobster, which so grudgingly surrenders to death. It's under that sea foam, hanging from their heads and their beards, that you realise that in Stromboli, when the weather starts to diminish its eternal vigour, there are two truths that make you feel powerless: that of the volcano and that of the people whose roots are so close to the surface, like the vine on this island with the same flaw.
In the speed of the clouds that race alone, the children of the mountain, the children of Iddu, Stromboli, stay there listening in silence, waiting for the warm breath that announces the sirocco. A sweltering and consuming wind that embraces and gnarls with its dense force.
As an island surrounded by ashes, the blasts of air you walk over are the dust rising from the centre of the earth, reminding you that the events that happen in Stromboli are too important and too great to exhaust themselves and take place only once. This is why, when you leave the land at the end of the journey, you drag that black behind you the whole time until your next return. Maybe until your salvation. And the sea becomes a mere means of reaching the farthest of the sisters, the most emblematic of the Aeolian Islands, set in the Tyrrhenian, which has always been considered an avaricious sea when it comes to giving life.
Text Antonella Salamone
Photography Olga Segura