‘No matter what you look at, if you look at it closely enough, you are involved in the entire universe.’
— Michael Faraday
We could have gone to Puerto Rico. I hear it is a beautiful place. A string of islands lined with long strips of beaches more than four hundred and thirty-five kilometers long. We could have walked along black, blue, white sandy stretches, found a secluded spot to ourselves, surfed, suntanned, or followed the music to a party on a resort front.
We could have had rum añejo, aged. It could have been four hundred years old. We could have sipped it while we danced the night away to the drums and then, whenever those stopped, fallen asleep just before dawn to the silence interrupted by the high-pitched song of tree frogs.
In the morning we could have strolled along the blue cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, pretending we were pirates, Taíno Indians, Spanish conquistadors. Down the paseos, admiring the castillos, we could have stopped somewhere quaint for coffee. Good coffee, gourmet coffee, fresh and rich from beans grown in the country’s volcanic soil.
We could have seen the Rodins, Velazquez, and Rubens at the Ponce Museum of Art, alongside the works http://welcome.topuertorico.org/culture/artsc.shtml of Campeche and Oller y Cestero. The Iglesia de San José, the Catedral de San Juan. The largest telescope in the world. The caves, the waterfalls, the Mona Iguanas that exist nowhere else.
We could have had a feast out of random bites taken from kiosks as we walked along. We could have eaten, with our hands, the famous Puerto Rican frituras: Plantains, seafood, chicken, pork, rum, potatoes, yams battered and fried. We could have practiced our Spanish and our salsa and merengue in the streets. We could have gone to Puerto Rico. We should have gone to Puerto Rico. We cannot go to Puerto Rico now.
Puerto Rico is a beautiful place that was hit by a terrible storm. The worst witnessed in nearly a century; a deadly hurricane of wind, rain, floods. It wiped out the roads, electricity, communications, destroyed buildings, dams, and farms. Almost all 3.4 million inhabitants are still without power. And low on drinking water, medical supplies, food.
While the territory drowns in debt and in water and rescuers try to access those trapped, the rest of the people have flocked to the airport, to the cell towers, for any contact with the outside world. Well we, the outside world, cannot contact Puerto Rico, but we can reach it in other ways. By sending money and supplies to those who desperately need them, and speaking for those who cannot.
Here is a list of ways to help. There is an option for everyone, every scale. Let us make Puerto Rico beautiful again, so we can go there some day.
N.B. Having written this, my heart goes out as well to the earthquake victims in Mexico. A thought and all the empathy I have for those suffering, those grieving, whoever and wherever they are. We are all our brothers’ keepers, and 'involved in the entire universe.’