Friday, December 25, 2009

Feliz Navidad!

An empty nest, removed from children and grandchildren, most of my friends, most of my favorite relatives, all coincided this Christmas. Yet my pity party was cut short, when I saw the sweetest thing today and in a sense the most heartbreaking. I was on my way to see my 88 year old mother who is in a nursing home in Bayamon. I had passed el tunel de Minnillas, passed La Kennedy, and had hopped on route 22 which heads towards Arecibo. I was on the far right lane, going fast. The speed was unknown since the speedometer in this borrowed car was broken, so I was pretty much keeping up with traffic.

Everyone was hurrying to go to someone else's house to deliver presents left at theirs by Santa Claus, when I noticed some people on the side of the road, wearing red and white furred hats. There were two others coming up a small side road pushing a child in a wheel chair. Further ahead I saw perhaps five or six well dressed people, two of which were also wearing the red and white furred hats typical of the festive Christmas season, with their backs turned to the expressway. They were facing a teal and silver high rise building. Waving. At the speed I was going, I couldn't tell if anyone was seeing them, but there had to be or at least they hoped. It was then I realized what they were doing and it pierced my heart as I realized what the teal and silver barred building was. It was the Federal Prison. And the people waving were relatives of inmates there. They may have made mistakes small or large, but they were still loved and valuable. When I thought about the child in the wheelchair wanting to say I love you and wish someone Feliz Navidad, and probably couldn't get closer than this, I gasped as I realized the gift they bore. It was the immensity of their love. A love that took them outside their comfort zone for someone who could not return the favor. I knew then I had love I could bear and someone to receive it and that was enough.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Wish to You!

♪♫•*¸♥Feliz Navidad♪♫•*¨¸¸♥ ¨*•♫♪Feliz Navidad, ♪♫•*¸♥ ¸¸.*•♫♪Feliz Navidad ♪♫• *¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸♫♪ Prospero Año y Felicidad ♪♫•*¨*•.¸♥ I Want to Wish You ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸♥ A Merry Christmas♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ •♫ I Want to Wish You ♪♫•*¨*•.¸ ♥ •♫♪ A Merry Christmas ♥ ♥ ♥ From the Bottom of My Heart! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸♥ And A Happy New Year! ♪♫• *¨*•.¸¸ ♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Fondest Memory

As a child, while my father was often transferred from one base to another, I once asked myself, what do I remember the most from Puerto Rico? Sure I remembered my first home in Puerto Nuevo, with its fences that seemed 10 feet tall. Only to become a mere six feet upon my return. I also remembered my brother crashing a perfectly good metal car he was riding down the narrow sidewalk in la Calle Dresde against the retaining wall of our home, totally on purpose. Such bizarre behavior always surprised me. I also remembered getting my foot stuck in the spokes of a bicycle, and as a result almost bleeding to death, but I didn't.

Of course those were memories, but not my fondest. My fondest was the wide open sidewalks of El Parque Luis Munoz Rivera. Luis Munoz Rivera was a poet and grand statesman who struggled for Puerto Rican autonomy during the 19th century. He was also father to Luis Munoz Marin the four time governor of Puerto Rico. But to me Luis Munoz Rivera, meant fun and something beautiful. It meant balloons, swings, flowers, slides, and possibly a nice stroll with my brothers and sister down a shady sidewalk, much as it is today. I always remember the sidewalks being as wide as a street, and when I came back, that hadn't changed. I wasn't disappointed. On the contrary, they are still there, with their rustic benches, wide, open, and carefree.
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Monday, December 21, 2009

One Balcony a Day


Christmas is here and so are the decorated balconies in Old San Juan.
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Sounds. What a Difference!

I wish I could tape them for you. Of course you have them in the North but in Florida in our sound proof home we tend to forget them. That proverbial question: if a tree falls in the forest and there is nobody there, is there sound? The answer will depend on how you define someone, because we know all the animals can hear it, the plants can sense the vibrations, and even the sounds in space can be measured on earth. So yes someone can always hear them.

But that wasn't why I was writing, because there are plenty of people here. Tons of them, big, small, tall and large, happy and sad, mostly happy. Millions of them in San Juan. So there is no trouble with people hearing the sounds or making them for that matter. The laughter of a child two stories above, a truck's intermittent warning as it backs up, a boy singing, a dropped pot bangs and clatters in a ring, the buzz of a plane flying over head, the thrashing of huge trash bins, the whirling of a siren down the road, and the birds.

Sound pollution competing with a symphony. I'll gladly take the laughter, the songs, and the birds.

This morning, it was the birds that caught my eye, though I saw not one. All I did was hear them at first and then listen. Listen I did to their chirps long, short, and shrilled, as well as, the happy, surprised, and territorial whistles. They are silent now mostly, when the world started to wake up next to them, competing forcefully against them. They muted saving their lullabies and calls for a more quiet audience. Perhaps a mellow moment.

Wait there they go again, perhaps not as loud as they were when they were trying to wake the sleepers, but now more softly, signaling to friends and foes, greetings and warnings. All of this is taking place in Carolina. The birds I am referring to live in the trees next to the lagoon, La Laguna San Jose, near Laguna Gardens which in reality should be declared a sanctuary for wildlife before its too late. It is a breathing space teeming with life not far from the conglomerated city with concrete piled in little houses not more than four feet from each other in Villa Palmera or the high rise hotels and condos in Isla Verde. The whole Lagoon should be protected by Recursos Naturales, from water contamination and unrestricted growth of building and private properties. The fowl, flora and fauna, that surround the beautiful mangroves or manglares which keeps them healthy also needs to be protected.

The sounds of the area are a wonderful sound of life, human and animal. The concrete, don't get me wrong, provides safety in storms, but we need a balance and the Laguna San Jose provides it.