A Train Ride in Sicily

Riding the train in Sicily, my mind wanders. The scenery leads to these thoughts.

Heading south to Siracusa, oil refineries blight the coastline, sucking up any of what could be an incredible Mediterranean shore. Noxious smoke chokes the air and giant open holding tanks of sludge rise to the lip of the pool, threatening everything nearby. Steel tentacles, thousands and thousands of them, crisscross the land like a subway map designed by a madman.

And the ships keep coming. Barges and tankers filling the ports where fishermen worked the sea for generations. One after another, they fill up and ship out. Heading for other ports in Italy and Europe and more far flung locales to keep the gas tanks in our cars full, to keep our oil heating system humming in the winter and keeping worldwide economy on a never ending growth curve to keep the shareholders happy, to keep the stock market in the black, and to keep everyone doped up on the lie of the never ending plenty.

In between, some sucker tries to tend a small plot of land. He held out against the oil companies, or, maybe, his land was too small, too insignificant in the petroleum world’s grand scheme of things to make an offer. So here he is, the last man standing, tilling the ground, planting the seed, and harvesting crops that suck carcinogens and god-knows-what-all from the soil, through their roots and into their leaves. Soon, he’ll be gone too and all that is left is Exxon’s wet dream of complete capitulation. Nothing here but the black gold, until it too is gone, and they leave, looking for the next patch to suck dry.

About the Author

Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, PortoSintraMonsaraz, and Evora in Portugal. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.

Author: Brent