THE FIRST TIME I SAW THE WORD "CUBA", it glared from a giant headline in the news-paper on my family's porch – an introduction to the concept of utter annihilation. Cuba was the source of that annihilation.
This was the first terror I could not set aside when it got too scary. And though the "Cuban Missile Crisis" was, in time, surpassed as the most frightening thing I knew, it remained a thread in my emotional fabric.
WHEN TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS for Americans eased in 2015 I had the opportunity to visit Havana as part of an art tour. It seemed important to gain a first-hand view – albeit brief and heavily controlled – of what I'd only known from sources with strong and competing agendas.
THE DISINTEGRATING BEAUTY of Havana's grand architecture echoed a Cuba that once had been the "Pearl of the Caribbean", while the broad deprivation of its people made an existential necessity of creativity and reuse. Cuba left me with a deep respect for the resiliency of the human spirit.
Epilogue: As it turned out, my visit to Cuba occurred in a sliver of time before the door once again slammed shut. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to visit.