It’s funny how a place can change you. And how a place can change. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to go back…see the places I left with the eyes and heart and thoughts I have now. Because I’ve left places.
I left the town, the place, the state where I grew up. I left most of the people I grew up around….people called family if family is defined by blood, by given name, by traceable cells.
Circumstance can be a trap.
Sometimes leaving is the beginning of living.
I imagine that is, in a small way, what many Cubans considered when they left these sunstruck streets in pursuit of a self-determined life.
Sometimes, after you’ve left, little slivers of songs surface from the deep waters of memory where they were simmering all along, syncopated with your heart’s beat…beat…beat.
They thump. They thunder.
The details of what you once knew appear, briefly, focused.
A place can mark you: ink its name on your skin indelibly. It pins its bloom on you.
Blooms within long after you kissed goodbye.
Decay unearths its own breed of beauty: a layered, beat-up beast made fierce by time, patience, endurance.
I’ve been wandering around Cuba thinking these thoughts, seeing stories in peeling plaster, feeling the soulfulness of this place.
I’ve been thinking about what it means to leave what you first knew.
For the next few posts I’ll be writing about Cuba.
There are stories to walk through here. Let’s go.