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book coverA Year in the World

Book Review
Continued from page 3

Excerpt 3: Savoring Seville

Days in Sevilla. Days of sweet air like early spring, sky the same blue as the azulejos. I'm drawn to the Convent of San Leandro in Plaza San Idelfonso because the afternoon I happen to visit is Saint Rita's Day, patron saint of lost causes. The church is filled with flowers and praying women, some clutching photographs. "Suffering mothers all," I say to Ed. They kneel and weep and visit and hold each other up. In my life, I have never experienced the comfort of laying down my burden, down at the foot of someone to whom I say I give up, help me. And I can only wonder at the succor such an act provides. Do they hear God talking? Do they dance with God? At another door, we place our money on a carved wooden wheel that spins into the convent. Out comes a wooden box of sweets from the cloistered nun on the other side.

In the plaza and along the streets, men in yellow slickers harvest oranges into big burlap sacks. Our shoes on the sidewalks and curbs stick and slide in juice and pulp. I ask a worker if they will make juice concentrate or the famous local marmelade. "Neither," he says, "they're too close to car exhaust. They will go into soaps and perfumes." Oh, great, perfume with a hint of toxic fumes. Azahar, Arabic for "orange," and then into Spanish, "la naranja." Here, they drink orange juice like water, sweetening it with a spoon of sugar. In the cathedral orange garden, where the Arabs made their ritual ablutions at the fountain before entering the mosque, the orange trees are intoxicated with birdsong, dripping and heavy on the air. Even the pigeons look holy....

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Excerpted from:
A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller
by Frances Mayes

A Year in the World, by Frances Mayes:
Book review
Excerpt 1: Flying with Italians
Excerpt 2: An English house of horrors
Excerpt 3: Savoring Seville

Book excerpt copyright © 2006 by Frances Mayes. All rights reserved.