Friday, February 18, 2011

El viejo y el mar

I'm currently rereading Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea". I've never read anything else by Ernest Hemingway, none of his other titles have jumped out at me. But, I really love this particular fish story. I've decided to make it an annual tradition and to revisit the book about this time each year. It's such a quick and easy read, that it seems perfectly within reason.

The book reminds me a little of my childhood in ways. With only 94 miles of water between Key West and Cuba, many of the natural things a Cuban literary fisherman experiences, you also get to experience fishing and living in south Florida, especially in The Keys. Things like popping man-o-war under your feet along an island beach, the sight of pterodactyl-shapped frigatebirds circling (really really) far above, the jumping of flying fish and ballyhoo scattering before the boat or the swirl of a larger predator fish and catching dolphin along a sargasso weed line (dolphin, the fish, not the porpoise, "mahi mahi" to Hawaiians and restaurants, "dorado" to Santiago, "el viejo").

Having started it just yesterday before work and kicking back with it and an espresso over the past couple of lunch hours (faintly imagining that it's a Cuban coffee I have in hand), I'm a little sad that I'm nearing the end so quickly. In reading the book, I can close my eyes and almost picture the organic scent of salt water, feel the residue left on my skin from spray crashing across the bow of the boat and taste it on my skin when I wipe the coffee from my mouth with the back of my hand.

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