Words and Images by Manuel Vergel
As we have expanded our content outside of Colorado, we have loved the stories pouring in from across the States and even the world. The following photos and poetic essay are courtesy of Manuel Vergel’s journey to Valparaiso, Chile.
Imagine a place tickled the Pacific Ocean and, at the same time, the constant vibrations of the earth. In this city, every house, every park, every school, every restaurant, and every church is folded between steep hills and valleys. These are the waves of Valparaiso’s land, in the heart of Chile.
Valparaiso has the gift of the novelty--time, people, nature imprinting itself on every corner. Everywhere you look, even every time you visit, you find a new scar. But these are marks of beauty and growth. They’re part of what makes the city seem infinite.
“Valparaiso, that brave ship,” said the poet Pablo Neruda. In Valparaiso nothing is firm, but everything has a voice and a freedom. Its very walls boast colors, graffiti, poems, murals, complaints, aphorisms, or jokes. The houses appear unsteady but they never lose their dignity.
Dignity is the heartbeat of the city. Here everyone learns, in their own way, how to swim Valparaiso’s waves. The energy is synonymous with movement, and here, something is always happening. For good or bad, nothing is static.
At the end of my journey, while I was drinking tea in a taciturn bar, I saw a woman who looked like a gypsy. She, along with a man playing the guitar, began to sing, a slight, nostalgic tone. And the only thing I could think of was that, in this city, it felt like everything was about to start or about to end. There really is a thin line between joy and sadness, between earth and sea, between life and death, between movement and eternity.