A few years ago, swaying in the humid air, as an overcast sky played with our beach plans, these shaggy-haired palms tempted a snap from my camera.
As a little pre-school girl and many summers until the end of my tweens, I always saw the palm leaves in Puerto Rico as green bird wings wanting to protect me from weather and imaginary beings. I obliged their need to shelter me. Who was I to make them feel unappreciated?
It had been about 12 years since the last time I set foot on the island of my mother and father. I was there with my baby son and toddler daughter. And 21 years had passed before that when I had my last paranda during Las Navidades. I brought back those babies as teenagers, excited to see the place I always missed, and they didn’t recognize me.
I wonder now, with over four years gone, how these palms may have faired in the tumult and despair of Maria and her not so distant cousin Terremoto 2020.
This still moment makes me feel comfortable—a peaceful feeling, like Puerto Rican Christmases and family. I hope they still stand protecting.