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Thread: Draft of story "alto vista" for book

  1. #1
    Senior Member charles's Avatar
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    Draft of story "alto vista" for book

    ALTO VISTA
    If you look or ask, Alto Vista can be found on most Aruba tourist guide maps. Tour buses stop there and it can be easily found by an internet search. This small chapel is the mainstay for our Aruba calendars, countless books and certainly more photographs that can be counted; yet, none can explain or depict what this little chapel represents. No matter how valiant the effort, it is impossible to catch the essence of this small piece of land on a mountain top.

    Alto Vista is a place for prayer to the god you worship and it welcomes all faiths-without discrimination. It is a small piece of serenity - one that is needed by all of us. It is a place for remembering those who are no longer with us, and to pray for those who are. People of all color go there and become color blind when they arrive. It is a place where we can all take a moment and reflect on what brought us to where we are and how we are living our lives.

    The expanse and magnificent ocean view from the chapel grounds will humble anyone. By standing to look at the oceans, you will be mimicking the fishermen’s wives of many years gone by as they stood here to watch their men at sea. When turning towards the land and away from the ocean view, the island of Aruba appears to be a woven carpet whose body is speckled with life’s happenings and painted with intimate stories. In short, there is something extremely special about this place.

    It is possible that our primary settlers used this small “mesa” for purposes of their own. Did they stand here to watch and see if large wooden ships would sail by? Why was this lonely outpost chosen as a place for worship? Was the winding, seemingly perfect, road going up to the chapel always there? Even if only a path, was it cut out by machinery so construction could proceed? Who constructed this place? Who were the men that carried sand and mortar? The simple carpentry had to be done by a craftsman: Who were these craftsmen; what were the names of their children and family? What was it like on the last day of construction, when the paint wasn’t yet dry yet and hands still ached from building this magnificence? Did all of these men meet to admire their work; and if they did, did they notice this special “something” they had constructed? On that last day of construction many years ago, did the craftsmen who were simple people, realize that their combined labor had resulted in something very different? Could they have understood while the nails, wood and cement may have been common elements, the resulting structure, humble as it is, would be an icon for an island- whose image as a result of their toil, would be seen all over the world? If it were possible to bring these men back, what would their prayers be? Perhaps, aside from religious aspects deep in our minds, these questions still remain today. When we walk into this lovely structure, do we ever wonder who the men that constructed it? Is it possible that in our wondering, we perpetuate their memories; yet, know practically nothing about them?

    It is often said that children have an innocent sense about them, and we could all learn from listening to them. For some reason when children visit Alto Vista, they know this place is special and behave accordingly. While visiting Alto Vista Chapel, a young boy leaned over to his father to ask him who had made this little church. The father began to tell him a story about a priest but the young boy stopped him and asked, “No. I mean, who were the people that did the work: Were they Indians?” The boy’s father apologized and said he didn’t know who they were, nor did he think their names were listed. The boy’s grandfather had been listening to their conversation and signaled the boy over to him and whispered in his ear, “God did it. He made it.” This was a satisfactory answer for the boy since it deferred him to a higher being – one who could perform miracles like this small chapel.

    To the craftsmen, whoever you were, and to the trade and craft applied to this small building, we say, “Thank you.” We want you to know that your efforts are forever. Your hands have crafted a place where many come to pray and seek help in their moments of despair. Your hands crafted a place for many to kneel and give thanks for whatever it is they feel.

    No doubt, the visit is special and yes the place has a profound impact; yet, perhaps the best measure of miracles like Alto Vista is in their residual effect. It is something best measured by what we felt, saw and experienced – not yesterday or last week, but much longer ago. It is all about the lingering calm where we go during our stressful lives, and perhaps, the ability to sneak off somewhere and have an “Alto Vista moment.”
    THERE ARE PLACES TO SEE - STORIES TO TELL
    IMAGES TO HARNESS - AND MORE STORIES ON caribbean.tv
    be well
    charles

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles View Post
    ALTO VISTA
    If you look or ask, Alto Vista can be found on most Aruba tourist guide maps. Tour buses stop there and it can be easily found by an internet search. This small chapel is the mainstay for our Aruba calendars, countless books and certainly more photographs that can be counted; yet, none can explain or depict what this little chapel represents. No matter how valiant the effort, it is impossible to catch the essence of this small piece of land on a mountain top.

    Alto Vista is a place for prayer to the god you worship and it welcomes all faiths-without discrimination. It is a small piece of serenity - one that is needed by all of us. It is a place for remembering those who are no longer with us, and to pray for those who are. People of all color go there and become color blind when they arrive. It is a place where we can all take a moment and reflect on what brought us to where we are and how we are living our lives.

    The expanse and magnificent ocean view from the chapel grounds will humble anyone. By standing to look at the oceans, you will be mimicking the fishermen’s wives of many years gone by as they stood here to watch their men at sea. When turning towards the land and away from the ocean view, the island of Aruba appears to be a woven carpet whose body is speckled with life’s happenings and painted with intimate stories. In short, there is something extremely special about this place.

    It is possible that our primary settlers used this small “mesa” for purposes of their own. Did they stand here to watch and see if large wooden ships would sail by? Why was this lonely outpost chosen as a place for worship? Was the winding, seemingly perfect, road going up to the chapel always there? Even if only a path, was it cut out by machinery so construction could proceed? Who constructed this place? Who were the men that carried sand and mortar? The simple carpentry had to be done by a craftsman: Who were these craftsmen; what were the names of their children and family? What was it like on the last day of construction, when the paint wasn’t yet dry yet and hands still ached from building this magnificence? Did all of these men meet to admire their work; and if they did, did they notice this special “something” they had constructed? On that last day of construction many years ago, did the craftsmen who were simple people, realize that their combined labor had resulted in something very different? Could they have understood while the nails, wood and cement may have been common elements, the resulting structure, humble as it is, would be an icon for an island- whose image as a result of their toil, would be seen all over the world? If it were possible to bring these men back, what would their prayers be? Perhaps, aside from religious aspects deep in our minds, these questions still remain today. When we walk into this lovely structure, do we ever wonder who the men that constructed it? Is it possible that in our wondering, we perpetuate their memories; yet, know practically nothing about them?

    It is often said that children have an innocent sense about them, and we could all learn from listening to them. For some reason when children visit Alto Vista, they know this place is special and behave accordingly. While visiting Alto Vista Chapel, a young boy leaned over to his father to ask him who had made this little church. The father began to tell him a story about a priest but the young boy stopped him and asked, “No. I mean, who were the people that did the work: Were they Indians?” The boy’s father apologized and said he didn’t know who they were, nor did he think their names were listed. The boy’s grandfather had been listening to their conversation and signaled the boy over to him and whispered in his ear, “God did it. He made it.” This was a satisfactory answer for the boy since it deferred him to a higher being – one who could perform miracles like this small chapel.

    To the craftsmen, whoever you were, and to the trade and craft applied to this small building, we say, “Thank you.” We want you to know that your efforts are forever. Your hands have crafted a place where many come to pray and seek help in their moments of despair. Your hands crafted a place for many to kneel and give thanks for whatever it is they feel.

    No doubt, the visit is special and yes the place has a profound impact; yet, perhaps the best measure of miracles like Alto Vista is in their residual effect. It is something best measured by what we felt, saw and experienced – not yesterday or last week, but much longer ago. It is all about the lingering calm where we go during our stressful lives, and perhaps, the ability to sneak off somewhere and have an “Alto Vista moment.”
    Thank you Charles, you are truly a man of words to be shared. We are planning a special visit in September and will take these words with me to remember this special place. Thank you,
    Cathey

  3. #3
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    Lovely
    thanks!

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