Of course you cannot visit Sicily without coming across a corpse. We chanced upon ours on our fifth day, as we walked across the beautiful Madonie Mountains high above the town of Castelbuono. Near the end of a four-hour hike that had begun just below the lingering snow – which came as a surprise to those of us who had packed for the tropics – we arrived at a small shepherd’s hut, where carabinieri in crisp blue uniforms and gold braid drove up the wagon path and strode into the nearby woods. The victim was a young man, whose hands and feet were bound, and who had a single bullet hole behind his right ear. There was no sign of a struggle, but his tongue was missing, presumably as warning to potential informers. Or such, at least, was the tale we spun among ourselves. Slowly, more details trickled out. He was not a young man, but elderly, possibly in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, who had wandered off from his home and been missing for seven days. He had walked a long way to die. Perhaps he had feared becoming a burden to his family and so had come to the most beautiful place he knew, ready in the early spring to return to the earth from which he had come. I will never know. But he has become one of countless people whose lives intersect fleetingly with mine, about whom I know nothing and yet whom I cannot forget.