The Simple Life

By Irina Pino

The coastline near La Puntilla where I like to take walks.

HAVANA TIMES – Nothing stays the same, changes happen for different reasons. During this pandemic, I’ve learned to live differently, it’s an opportunity to understand that the here and now is what really matters.

Last year flew by. There were certain events that changed my situation. My mother passed away in hospital, and I began to write a new book. A painful experience, and the other positive, because writing is a way to cleanse your spirit, to exorcize your demons.

My book is me, my reflections. Even though you suffer in the act of writing, it’s the best cure for an artist. I have become disciplined, I write almost every day, I read it through and tweak my texts. I’m constantly pushing myself.

I take long walks, following the advice of English writer Virginia Woolf. Not just to get some physical exercise, but also as an act of observation.

I really like living in Miramar, near the coast, as I can enjoy simple pleasures, like sitting on a rock and looking out at the sea, picking up stones, getting my feet wet, talking to the dog that draws near and barks at me during my walk. Everything is one big canvas, where everything is necessary and has a reason for being.

I’m not going to lie, there are concerns about buying food, but then calm days come. I go to a privately-run film library to find movies, TV series, concerts, documentaries. I invest hours in reading, I read poetry and prose, and I download an interesting book off the Internet if I’m able to.

The river that runs into the sea at La Puntilla.

I miss my weekends at Submarino Amarillo and La Casa de la Amistad, places where rock bands would play live, and people could listen to their favorite songs, dance, drink and socialize. Now, my son puts music on the computer, and we dance.

Having always had a very active cultural life, not being able to go to museums, galleries, the movies and theaters is like having been kidnapped and taken far away from the city.

But I have no choice but to accept the new restrictions. We are beings that adapt after all. We set out possible objectives, give some financial aid to somebody in need, comfort a sick friend… these all feed the spirit too.

Read more from Irina Pino here on Havana Times.

One thought on “The Simple Life

  • In this current pandemic, it seems everyone no matter where one lives is living a more simple life or experiencing moments of simplicity. For most, writing as a Canadian, what once was a normal get away excursion has been severely halted by major transportation restrictions. Here in Canada once normal winter travel excursions to the Caribbean, particularly to Cuba, to enjoy a relaxed, warm, hospitable, and enjoyable experience has been dramatically dashed.

    Like Irina Pino, I also “ . . . take long walks, following the advice of English writer Virginia Woolf. Not just to get some physical exercise, but also as an act of observation.” I too revert to the simple observable walking occurrence. Early morning walks in the frigid temperatures with an emerging early morning bright sun which provides much needed illumination but little warmth, unlike the tropical constant Cuban sun which at times can be unbearable without protection.

    No beach walking here, simple walks in the local panoramic park listening to birds some no bigger than a clenched fist are perched on tall black spruce and pine trees chirping and flying about looking for simple sustenance. Walking along one ponders and wonders: How do these feathered flying friends bear the extreme frigid temperatures at night which would freeze any exposed unclad human body – minus 30 some nights – yet during the day they fly around with no evidence of having been exposed to deadly jaw dropping cold temperatures? One can only look up, observe, and wonder at nature with a cold, constant breeze blowing ever so gently on the face.

    Slowly and silently taking steps on packed snow, snow that has been crunched and packed by countless walkers’ footsteps whose steps can be recognizable. Crunch, crunch, crunch mixes in nicely with the cawing of some of the larger black birds in the area. One can differentiate the type of snow shoe tread left behind by the forgone walking exercisers. Walkers’ shoe sizes similarly are very visible and differentiating from a small child’s snow boot to at times an adult extra large size both imprinted either side by side or one a step ahead or behind the other, perhaps a parent and child outing.

    One can easily spot animal tracks on and off the walking trail. In the fresh, powdery, white, glistening snow off the walking trail rabbit evidence with their long, elongated paws imprinted close to familiar territory around those spruce trees, just in case, for safety. And dog tracks also close to safety beside those adult and children’s boot marks definitely and evidently on a dog leash as prescribed by park protocol.

    As the pondering and observations continue the sun glows brighter and warmer causing the walker to loosen the jacket zipper(s), perhaps jet off the parka hood as the walking exercise is generating bodily heat that needs to be dissipated. The sun’s warmth invites chipmunks out scouring about observing walkers who may have a peanut or two to provide a hungry rodent. Nature at its best: walkers, fresh air, sunshine, birds a singing, whether one is passing simple time in Canada or Cuba a pause is always welcomed.

    “Everything is one big canvas, where everything is necessary and has a reason for being.”, as Irina writes. Absolutely. Whether one takes the time to enjoy the simple life in warm Cuba, or the simple life in cold Canada, we are all humans interacting with interesting nature on one big canvas called Earth.

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