At first landing in Havana, I witnessed the sunlight detonate a rich variety of patinas and light.
This first touch – while pleasing – was unnatural to my eye’s modern training to associate newness with relevancy. In time, my encounter with the city had a texture of its own as I was transformed by my surroundings. The people and the city’s structures share deep unhealed crevasses, pocked and veinous.
All around were confirming observations of my disorientation in the bewilderment among tourists thirsting for the earthy, ochre light like water. I began to understand that the city’s people and structures had been faithful to a life that had lived and accepted everything – wounded, healed and exposed for observation. This exposed humanity was impossibly simple and timeless. Brash immediacy – pedestrians tweeting on the brink of chaos in modern cities – now seemed like a dislocation slippery with sycophancy.
The day emptied and vanished leaving Havana’s oily night and the final realization of the restricted scope of my native sensibility – that the inner truth and outward detail of Havana and her inhabitants produced surprising new emotions at odds with the garish mute forms and neon culture of modernity to which I had become so accustomed and held with a hostile adherence.