Isla Negra, on the Pacific coast an hour and a half west of Santiago, was one of Neruda's three homes. Though I've been to Valparaíso many times, I have never visited his home there, La Sebastiana, but I've been to Isla Negra and to La Chascona, which is here in Santiago.
In addition to being a renowned poet, Neruda was a collector. The houses are full of seashells, wine glasses, and ships' mastheads. His "toys," which he claimed helped him retain his youthful spirit. My impression is that he loved food, wine, women, beauty, and words. Neruda lived large.
Maybe I was inspired by him the day I visited Isla Negra because I did something beyond my usual comfort zone.
Outside the entrance to Isla Negra, a woman was selling homemade chocolates from a small stall. In the background, “Marble Halls” from Enya’s Shepherd Moons album was softly playing.
I stood in the street and sang to her in English that she couldn’t understand. She closed her eyes to listen, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, while passersby stared at the looney gringa, singing in the road.
After my performance, she dug underneath her counter and brought out a tattered guest book and a pen. I wrote her a note in Spanish about how delightful it felt to stand in that exquisite spot and sing one of my favorite songs.
I also bought chocolates to serve for once. Maybe that’s what had made the woman so happy. She was smiling as I walked away.
~~A Million Sticky Kisses
I think I'll take a page from Neruda's book and follow his example of living large. More singing, more laughter, maybe some dancing or howling at the moon. Live it like I mean it.
Author of Penny Possible & A Million Sticky Kisses