Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mi Cuerva

El Salvadorian beach near Puerta Libertad

It rained last night.  I sat in the tiny patio space that is part of the hotel, surrounded by hundreds of tropical plants, an umbrella overhead.  Under my feet were flagstones, wet with the warm rain.  It was a space that people strive for in their own homes and gardens, but few in North America ever fully achieve.  There is nothing contrived in the patio garden just hundreds of plants potted in whatever containers were available at the time. It was like sitting in a room made of vegetation, tight, intimate, and deeply personal.

The first time I saw something like this was at the home of my Spanish language professor in Monterey, California.  He had a small deck that was part of his 2nd floor apartment and he had turned it into a tiny tropical rain forest.  It was really only large enough for two people to sit in, a Mexican terracotta chiminea glowed off to one side, the air smelled of wood smoke.  Plants surrounded you on all sides and covered you above as well.  Hundreds of plants thoughtfully arranged, but with no detectable pattern like the random growth of the forest.  I've always marveled at that tiny space that my professor called mi cueva, and have seen it replicated countless times but always in Latin America. Somehow the gringo mentality, or at least mine, is too contrived to achieve the randomness of nature.

I sat last night, a glass of Cabernet in my hand and feeling the rain come down around me.  It was a very magical yet familiar moment that brought me back many, many years to my professor's cave.  What a great moment.

1 comment:

Long-time RN said...

The photo and post-a lovely start this morning as a new work week begins.