This is a guest post written by a dear friend of mine, Charles Croes – a famous writer in Aruba. You’ve probably read his words and stories inside of many magazines that are published to visitors on the island. He’s sharing a story about the origins of Aruba – a few words to lift your spirits during the hard coronavirus times.
Charles Croes writes…
It is my hope that this short story is read quietly at home and that it brings you a semblance of inner peace. It is my belief that these times are on us to measure us as a global people. I also feel that whatever the outcome, that it will be of our making.
In an odd way, I see this plague as a messenger that tells us a story about who and what we are and does so on a daily, perhaps hourly or minute by minute basis. While I am respectful of the conditions of these times, I am in awe of us as a species.
We will continue and will do so splendidly. Of this I am sure.
This short story is an observation, not of the subject matter but instead about what it is when we leave our established homes and go to places we call our home away from home.
I wonder often what it is we look for.
It certainly cannot be the same as what we leave behind. In talking to many visitors to our island, I often tell them, “You are not going back to reality. Aruba is reality. Where you are now returning to is unfortunate.”
And by that, I mean the daily routine and not the place. Simply said, Aruba is splendidly different than home. Not better, just splendidly different.
The Start of a New Day in Aruba
A bird floats over the ocean as it views the piece of land he calls home. Effortlessly – he soars while scanning his domain – making sure that all is tranquil and, as it should be.
Out of the corner of one eye, he sees a small white house.
It is a point of reference for him as well as it is for many other living creatures in the area.
The ongoing shrieks from birds as they skitter back and forth along the washing shoreline becomes a normalcy that is there yet unheard.
It is a part of it all, a part of Aruba.
All the while that one single bird floats and looks down on the happenings of his island home.
It is a seaside sounds of birds running on the shoreline mixed with that of the ocean lapping against the white shoreline creating a delicious foam that disappears as quickly as it is created.
The ocean mist floats on the wind leaving a salty wetness on the stones surrounding the small white house – it is a normal thing.
All the while, the bird hovers in silent vigil.
The soft sounds of moving shore sand mixed with that of small rolling shells create nature’s symphony with a rhythm that follows the movements of the gentle surf.
It is a soft and gentle sound made by tiny shells in their struggle to get out of the water and onto the land. They lie there, clinging to the shore only to be swept again into the sea by the same waves that brought them. Their quest, on this new day, will be to form a part of the beach or to crumble and become a grain on the nearby dunes.
It is an eternal quest with an eternal soothing sound.
The bird flies overhead and observes all. He has seen it before. Then, slowly he blinks his eyes and turns his head to the ocean in search for a small swimming morsel.
In a bushy area nearby, a thin and dusty dog rests after a night on the prowl. His lean muscles are unable to hide the bony structure that supports them.
Not far away, a small gray owl nestles in the crags of the dried corral that he calls his home. The owl sits while his head spins like a bulb on a socket. It is difficult to know if he is surveying the areas around him or looking for a juicy meal.
In this desolate place, no one knows and no one cares.
The thin and dusty dog and the owl occasionally eye each other to establish their respective domains. All the while, the soaring bird observes.
The scene is remarkable.
The colors of the landscape are stark and their edges serve as boundaries for the changes from one piece of nature to the other.
A savage and deep blue ocean turns to an aquatic green as it comes closer to land.
Then the shallow water white sands start the color change to turquoise and finally to the brilliant white of natural sand.
Further in and in its own small space, is the small Cunucu house with its green windows recently painted. All of this, when taken into consideration by our senses, know that only nature could create this beauty.
All the while – the bird floats overhead looking at this splendor. He sees the dusty dog with half-opened eyes looking for the owl that has receded into his rocky crag for the moment.
In a small white room of the Cunucu house with its open windows – lies a man on a bed.
The salty sea breeze gently blows across his brown face. To him, the smell of ocean is sweet. His shocking white hair is thick with small tufts that move with the wind acting like human weather vanes. One at a time, his eyes open then close again.
This stocky man started his with the simple movement of his arm. Lifting it he let it fall on the pillows next to him and thought to himself, “one hour”.
The heat (or lack of it let him know how long ago she awoke and left his side to make him the black coffee which was his morning ritual.
Her aroma lingered but not the heat of her face.
Turning on his side, he looked out the window and saw a bird soaring high above.
The bird saw him.
All that was him walked into the room and handed him the small cup of coffee.
He brought it to his lips and allowed the brown liquid to linger there.
She leaned over and whispered softly, “Get my love, it’s the Day.”
He grunted and repeated “The day”
And so, new beginnings arrive all over our world. At different times and in different places.
All we have to do is live them.
In a small white house with green shutters, a couple did just that.
All the while – an owl bobbed his head as he looked at the dusty sleeping dog.
The birds soared overhead and smiled a bird-smile knowing that in her world, all is well.
And so started The Day.