Christmas in the Island of Enchantment

On a frosty dawn in December, when the sun began to shine the earth, I woke up to witness a shower of snow enveloping the ground with a pearly quilt. Mesmerized by the flow of snowflakes, I contemplated the naked trees getting dressed with an elegant white nightgown, adorning its bared branches with diamonds of crystallized flurries. Through the peace of the icy air, and the still of that morning, I heard; “pack your bags because you are spending Christmas in the Island  of Enchantment.”

A few days went by, and as I got busy, I forgot about the voice and those bags didn’t get packed. Surprisingly, I got an email in my inbox alerting me about a great airfare, and from that moment on, advertisements about Puerto Rico were bombarding me.

On Christmas Eve, I took a flight to Borinkén; also known as the Island of Enchantment because of its charm and magical places. On the way, I heard the same voice telling me; “Pay attention because, during these Christmas, I will take you to higher realms were its magic will transform you.” As a proud native, I love to visit Puerto Rico as much as I can; however, this invisible force was taking me to places I have never experienced before.

At the airport, among a group of local musicians, an old man playing a cuatro and singing an Aguinaldo, smiled at me. While I was getting my baggage, he approached me to say; “Mrs., they are waiting for you at El Yunque.” In that precise moment my shuttle arrived, having to leave the musician without a chance to ask him who.

El Morro Fort by Jerry Valentín
El Morro Fort
by Jerry Valentín

The refreshing breeze of La Noche Buena was flirting with the sparkling ocean waves while the island was inhaling an air of joy. To perpetuate the tradition our ancestors brought to our culture, a fiesta takes place every day with a parranda. The crystal and turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea and the ancient castles of Old San Juan always feature on Christmas Day one of the most beautiful and magical holidays of this world.

Paseo de la princesa Steve Grundy
Paseo de la Princesa
Steve Grundy

As I went for a walk throughout Paseo de la Princesa, I saw a girl joyfully chasing the playful breeze. Intrigued, I asked her; “who are you following?
“The bright butterflies that are taking me to Baby Jesus,” She said while blissfully leaping.
“And where is Him?” I asked, joining her.
Raising her glowing turquoise eyes, she pointed to the sky to say; “there, do you see his eyes?”
As I saw two bright lights in the clear sky, she whispered; “the angels that live in the shimmering waters of Mosquito Bay told me to follow the butterflies.”

by Visay
by Visay

Inspired by her words, the next day, I took a ferry towards Viéquez Island. Also known as La Isla Nena, when I got there, I saw herds of wild horses freely mingling with the tourists and the natives. On that moonless evening, I glided in a kayak through the waters of Mosquito Bay. Surrounded by a universe of falling stars, I contemplated tiny fireballs that were floating with the ocean waves. A shower of shooting stars was sprinkling us while I jumped into the rich waters, perceiving the light of those angelic creatures that live down there.

by Andrea Massimini/Flickr
By Andrea Missimini

Meaning hope in English, I spent the next day in Esperanza. While I dined with the view of the dazzling sun graciously descending into the aquamarine bay, live music was vibrating with the picturesque town. As I watched with fascination a woman swinging her body with the rhythm of her intense spirit, she asked me to join her.
“You have wonderful energy,” I said to the cheerful woman.
“I just got back from La Isla Bonita. About 90 percent of the people who have chosen Culebra Island to be their home are angels in the form of humans.” She said, with the same light in her eyes as the little girl I saw in Old San Juan.

The Milky Way in Culebra Valentín Lyakhovich
The Milky Way in Culebra
Valentín Lyakhovich

As I continued my journey towards Isla Bonita, when I got to the rural and colorful small island, I talked to as many locals as I could. While I asked each one of them; ‘what is the most important thing to you?’; I got the same answer from all of them in one simple word; “love.”

Remembering the words of the old musician at the airport, I decided to go back to La Isla Grande during the morning of December 31. At El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the United States, I went for a hike to El Toro, the highest peak of the mystical mountain. Throughout the hazy fog of the forest, I saw the Indian Taínos living in a parallel world.

Flamenco Beach Stephen Sproul
Flamenco Beach
Stephen Sproul

Welcoming me to their hidden paradise, I joined an areyto while they were sharing their wisdom. Assuring me they live within the puertorrican, they said; “When the Boricua spiritually wakes up, he can understand that his noble heart, high spirit, and keen mind are gifts he has inherited from us. As this invisible Wonderland becomes real to him, magic will always perpetuate in his life, and Christmas on the Island of Enchantment will bring him love and joy.”

May the spirit of the Indian Taínos will always bring you love and guidance. Merry Christmas!

View from the Dwarf Forest
View from the Dwarf Forest

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