Saturday, December 13, 2008
San Cristobal de La Habana by Joseph Hergesheimer 1920
There are certain cities, strange to the
first view , nearer the heart than home.
But it might be better to acknowledge
that, perhaps, the word home has a
wider and deeper significance than any
mere geographical and family sitting.
Many men are alien in house built from
the traditions of their blood; the most
inaccessible and obdurate parts of the
earth have always been restlessly sought
by individuals driven not so much by ex-
terior pressure as by a strange necessity
to inhabit a barren copper mountain , a
fever coast , or follow to he end of life a
river lost in a savage remoteness , hiding
the secret of their unquenchable longing.
Not this, precisely , happened to me , ap-
proaching Havana in the early morning ,
nothing so tyrannical and absolute ; yet
watching the silver greenness of Cuba
rising from the blue sea , I had a premo-
nition that what I saw was a peculiar impor-
tance to me. I grew at once impatient and
sharply intent on the resolving of a nebulous
and verdant mass into the detais of dense
slopes , slopes that showed, from the sea
to their crowns , no break in a drak foliage.
The sombreness of the leaves immediately
marled the land fron an accustomed region
of bright maples - they were at once dark,
glossy , and heavy , an effect I had often
tried to describe, an their presence in such
utter expanses filled me with pleasure. It
was exctly as though the smooth lustrous
hills before me had been created out of an
old mysterious desite to realize them in words.
Undoubtedly their effect belonged to the sea,
the sky , and the hour in which they were set.
The plane of the sea , ruffed my a wind like
a willful and contrarily exerted force, was so
blue that its color was lost in the dark inten-
sity of tone; while the veils of space were
dissolved in arcs of expanding light.
The island seemed unusually solid and inso-
lated, as complete within itself as a flower in
air , and saturated with romance. That was my
immediate feeling about Cuba, taking on depth
across water profounder than indigo,,,it was latent
with the emotional distinction which so signally
stirred me to write