The Drugging Sun

July 3, 2012

They call it the caldo africano, the torpor that has overtaken us. “The sun,” writes Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, “[is] the true ruler of Sicily; the crude, brash sun, the drugging sun, which annul[s] every will . . .”

I sit at the beach trying to write, but every time I look at my laptop, I get sleepy. Caffeine doesn’t help. I stare out in the direction of Malta.

Espresso on a Sicilian Beach, copyright Jann HuizengaI am like this boat, too listless to do its job.  I’ve developed a passion for the nap, n’abbiamu in Sicilian—literally, “the throwing of oneself upon the bed”—and cannot wait till afternoon when I will fall into a comatose sleep thick as honey.

Blue Boat, copyright Jann Huizenga

Why is this woman not seeking shade? Has she fallen asleep over her book?

Sicilian Woman Reading on Beach, copyright Jann Huizenga

This fellow still has the energy to languidly rub olive oil over his muscles. Because he is not bronzed enough.

Sicilian Man on Beach, copyright Jann Huizenga

But the only one on the beach who seems to be wholly awake is the sister rushing out to sea.

Sicilian Nun on the Beach, copyright Jann Huizenga

Is that a bikini rolled up in her hand?


Happy Fourth of July!!!

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51 comments to The Drugging Sun

  • I love the silence of the siesta on my very noisy street in Noto. Everyone naps as do I. Then it is time to get up for the passeggiata or the vasca on the main street. Wonderful scene.

    • Jann

      Yes, it’s amazing how the village becomes like a ghost town during nap time! Neighbors told me that it is ILLEGAL to make noise from 2-4!

  • Actually, it was more like being blinded by the Speedo.

  • Ah, the art of the nap. Even more necessary than pasta at this time of the year, I would imagine. Yes, I can see how one would need to rest one’s eyes after being dazzled by such rich colours…including bronze.

  • lucy

    I have a question, which beach is this?

  • lucy

    Jann thank you for posting those pictures, even though they make me homesick (well not my home my mom and dad’s). I love Sicilian beaches and I always giggle like a school girl when I see the banana hammock speedos. I have to tell you though when I was 18 (last time I was in Sicily). I was more tanned then any of my Sicilian cousins. They asked “how did you get so tanned in Canada?” We had a good June that year. I said “swimming pools and my car!” I used lay on my dads 1968 Chrysler Newport and tan. I also had a beach five minutes away at Bluffers Park in Scarborough. By the end of summer I was nere!

    • Jann

      Lucy, I bet your cousins were very impressed. Especially when you told them you tanned on a Chrysler Newport! That’s pretty funny. I didn’t do that but I used to lay on tin foil. Ugh!

  • Yes Jann I think you need to learn some sicilian……look at the etichetta Learning Sicilian in my blog and have fun….. 🙂
    sometimes I write there what I remember what I hear etc etc…it’s still funny to me .although I’m sicilian and tourists enjoy to hear the differences between Sicilian and Italian…
    NO “sugnu” is in Italian Io sono …I’m sciruccatu….quindi.

    and I could learn Irish…quirky? what does mean that we Siclian are quirky?

    This morning my Norwegian people learn MIZZICA! to express surprise like saying OH MY GOD!
    buona serata…

    • lucy

      I loved hearing my cousins use the word “Quindi” all the time! I would go there’s that word again. I miss Sicily so much. Hoping to go there next summer! I speak dialect mixed with English. I remember saying “pommo” for apple, my aunts and uncles knew what I wanted but not my young cousins…I wanted an apple. “mela”. LOL MIZZICA love it then I would bite my finger!

    • Jann

      Yes, that “quindi” word. Italians use it sort of like “uh” I think.

    • Jann

      Ah, “sugnu” is “sono” Great to know! Quirky means different, unusual, in a cute, creative, distinct way.

  • “Is that a bikini rolled up in her hand?” Love it! Your imaginative pictures and captions capture the stories behind the scenes. You’ve earned your deep nap.

  • I found you through Bella’s blog, and I’m so glad I did! My mother is full Sicilian and takes a deep nap every day — must be in their blood, hehe! I, on the other hand, am also of Irish descent and almost never nap. What lovely scenes you’ve captured, especially the nun in white!

    • Jann

      Debbie, I’m so glad you found me. Welcome! I’ve taken a look at your blog, and loved your posts about the care-giving woman and the demise of journalism. Great pieces. I hope to visit you often. (I love the mix of Sicilian and Irish! My husband, who is Irish-American says that Sicilians are “quirky” vis a vis Italians in the same way that Irish are quirky vis a vis British. So if he’s right, you’ve got a double dose of quirkiness! And being quirky is always a good thing.)

  • Please tell the signore he’s bronzed enough!!! Wonderful, dreamy work Jann. ‘A passion for a nap’…perfect!!!! Jxxxx

    • Jann

      Do you know that someone in the village came up to my husband and told him he’s too white? When we go to the beach, we both hang out in the shade under hats!! (I think Italians can never get tan enough. The concept does not exist!)

  • John Schinina

    Ciao Jann,
    Your photos are picture perfect, they need no wording and your title “The Drugging Sun”, what can I say.

    • Jann

      Ciao John–I guess it’s better to be drugged by the sun than by another substance…but you’ve been here in the summer, so you must know the feeling!

  • Ciao Jann, nice pictures and nice thoughts about our Scirocco
    “Sugnu sciruccatu” this is what we say when this African hot comes and make us all lazy ……
    I’ve worked this morning with a group from Norway…che sofferenza..after the archaeological park all down into the Catacombs looking for some “culture” at a better temperature! and now , I’m also facing to Malta from the beach waiting for me..Ciaoooo

    • Jann

      Oh, I love that, Lucia–“sugnu” must be “sogno”… One of these days I hope to learn Sicilian…

      The catacombs are a great place to be on a day like this! I hope the Norwegians brought big hats and lots of sunscreen.

  • Anitre MacDonagh

    The photos are mesmerizing. I love the Nun. Very inspiring, Jann! I’m counting the days (30 to be exact) until I’m sitting on the beach Santa Maria del Focallo.
    Happy 4th of July from rainy London!

    • Jann

      Thank you Anitre. I’m actually craving some London rain at the moment! Ha! Isn’t that typical??? I’m sure your beach will be happy to have you back again.

  • Andrea

    We feel the same way in south Louisiana… oh, the heat and sun!! But we don’t look nearly as gorgeous as the Italians sweating it out. We just look like wilting flowers….

  • Anna

    Only an Italian man could wear a fuchsia banana hammock and still come across as totally masculine. Oh how I miss the days on the beaches of Sicilia.

  • vicki

    The boat is an abstract painting waiting to be applied to the canvas.
    The Sister shot looks like a pose for Sargent. :Sister in White:.

    • Jann

      Vicki–I Googled the John Singer Sargent painting, and indeed, there’s a similarity! Thank you for pointing that out to me. Are you a painter????

  • soooo fogged out in SF that our Italian guest in town for the weekend asked what season we are really having here….
    so waiting for the suns annulment

    • Jann

      Charmain–FOG sounds delicious!!!! Send some our way and I’ll send you some sunshine. 🙂

  • jan walcott

    Every day that your blog appears e’ una giornata bella!! You have the ability to take the smallest thought and make it very philosophical — Sicilian Seinfeld influence perchance???

    Jan to Jann

    • Jann

      Jan, you’re so sweet! I did get one angry email from a reader about the bikini comment :(, but I meant no disrespect… Humor can be a dangerous thing, I guess….

      Jann to Jan

    • lucy

      I agree with you Jan Walcott. I look forward to Jann’s posts! 🙂 much love!

    • Jann

      Grazie, grazie, Lucy. And I always LOVE when you drop by and comment. xxxxxxooooooooo

  • beautiful images. the colors are intoxicating. enjoy your time on the beach! a presto!

  • Charlie

    could not help but noticed Mr. Bronze God missed a spot on his rear lower extremity…haha

  • b e a u t i f u l.

    ooOOO, the woman in white.


    Love Love love. Kiss, Jann

  • Jann, this is a beautiful post! I can totally relate to your being under the spell of “n’abbiamu.”I feel the same way. The hot Spanish sun leaves me in a lethargic state that makes me crave siesta time with a passion. The fact that I’m a bit sunburned doesn’t help, nor does the sound of the ocean waves that help lull me to sleep. I say, don’t fight it. Let’s listen to our bodies and give in to much needed sleep! 🙂

  • Sam

    There have been serious heat waves all over the planet recently, but they should all be photographed as nicely as yours in Sicily!

    • Jann

      Ha, thanks Sam. Global warming–scary. The Italian papers today said (if I understood correctly) that this summer is already the hottest on record in Italy.

  • Jill Iacopelli

    Happy 4th of July to you too!! I remember being in Sicily on one 4th of July and was a bit “sad” that of course no one there was celebrating!!! So I wanted to wish you a Happy 4th!!! Love your blog!

    • Jann

      Hi Jill–It’s great to hear from you! I might be homesick for the hot dogs a little bit, but there have been so many fireworks in Sicily this summer for various feast days, that I won’t miss those at all. Happy 4th back to you, and thanks again for reading and commenting. (BTW, I love your name–so many “l”s and “i”s.)

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