Thoughts on the road to Cienfuegos

20 November

There’s a subtle magic in traveling rural highways under the black of night. I’ve always thought this, but in Cuba the thought sneaks into my mind almost without fail and has the power to subdue me for hours. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s some aspect in the night time journeys through this country that awakens part of my soul that usually lies dormant.

It might be the inherent danger in driving down these narrow, winding, unlit, poorly-paved roads. The realization that one crucial human error, or freak occurrence in this rumbling, safety feature-less metal death trap would bring an end of this life.

Or Maybe it’s the solitude of the midnight road, whose dark monotony is only rarely perturbed by a cluster of far off lights who serve as a reminder that civilization exists beyond the exposed iron frame and feeble headlights of a BelAir that belongs in a museum.

Or Maybe it’s the knowledge of the pain endured by the Taínos and Africans slaves and Chinese workers that once walked now tranquil land. The knowledge that those who were not fast or clever enough to make it to the not-so-distant mountains were chased down and tortured in these very fields. That their flesh, blood and bones quite literally once fertilized the greatest sugar industry on Earth. A knowledge that the seven foot, swaying caña plants on either side of me are wont to hide.

Or maybe it’s the Moon. The soul is entrapped by the soft light of that almost full orb as it rises to it’s rightful place in the night sky. In flat, extensive lands such as these her pure and gentle rays illuminate the horizon just enough to make out silhouettes of towering palm trees in the distance. In these times I understand why people worship this mysterious orbiting rock orbiting. Her gaze extends over the sea tall sugarcane, over the occasional reflective lake, over the billboards tiredly celebrating revolutionary nationalist dogma.

Yes, maybe it’s the Moon…



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