top of page
  • Gail Wilson Kenna

Nightfall at the Santa Clara in Colombia’s Cartagena

I have taken what was originally in poetic form, written while living in Colombia, and changed it to prose while re-reading Gabo’s autobiography Living to Tell the Tale. Colombia’s Cartagena was important in his youth. One of his many homes was located adjacent to the Santa Clara; and his novel, Of Love and Other Demons, had its conception in the convent that became this luxury Sofitel Hotel.

Above the Sea in Cartagena

On a balcony overlooking the Caribbean Sea, I feel a familiar sadness with our endless waves of human hatred and greed. A philosophical mind is the ocean’s gift. Even as a child I sensed this… when my agitated father relaxed before the sea, as if forgotten elements were being stirred by the Pacific’s setting sun.

Here at the Santa Clara, I sit before the vast blue sea, not to mention the fading blue, powder blue, impermanent sky, and ponder questions of I-dentity. In all of us—a demon, stone-faced warrior, wastrel, hidden saint, thief, swimmer of seas, or poor paddler of pre-ordained tributaries.

Beneath the balcony, the wading pool’s uneven sculptured bottom shines in artificial light, while at a distance across the man-made plunge, TV screens waver in darkened rooms.

Yet the vast sea disputes, dispels, washes away (or segregates on the shore) man’s forgotten debris, his fragile bones. As sky and sea turn gray, they offer breadth and the ever-reaching certainty of our eternally blue and blissful reason To Be.

Next week I will write about Of Love and Other Demons and comment on Gabo’s story about a fallen angel. I thank Gabriel Garcia Marquez for helping me love the real world of his wildly imagined fiction. He did not live to write a second volume of Living to Tell the Tale. But this is one book to read in your lifetime!

31 views1 comment
bottom of page