Recently, Patrick and I had the chance to discuss Caribbean myths and legends with a few UC fans in the Midwest. It was a lively conversation, as you might imagine, touching on many of the childhood myths, legends, and tall tales that formed so much of the foundation for the value system we’ve long followed, and are today imparting to our own kids.
The conversation remained fresh in my mind days later when I came across the fantastic image, captured by our old friend and UC photo contributor, José Francisco Salgado, PhD. A fairytale waterfall deep in the heart of El Yunque, the massive (28,000 acres) and mystical rainforest covering much of Puerto Rico’s eastern edge.
You can almost feel something supernatural lurking in the dark corners of the image, right?
I know I do, a product, no doubt, of the many times I trekked through El Yunque over the years, and the many, many tales of unexplained phenomena here.
Los Chupacabra barely scratches the surface on the strange encounters recorded here over the years. From Bigfoot to giant birds, prehistoric Velociraptor-like creatures, aliens and UFO’s, El Yunque is said to have harbored them all over the centuries.
I never saw anything beyond the amazing natural beauty of El Yunque on my visits, but you certainly feel a mystical presence here; a quiet otherworldly calm.
Maybe it all just goes back to Puerto Rico’s original Taino inhabitants, who named the rainforest after their Yuquiyu, a good spirit who, according to their beliefs, lived high atop El Yunque offering protection to the island and its inhabitants.
Or maybe the mystical sense of peace comes from being in such close contact with so many amazing creatures. Many plant and wild animal species that formerly proliferated all over Puerto Rico can now be found almost exclusively in El Yunque; the Puerto Rican Parrot and the Puerto Rican Boa among them.
No matter the answer, memories of my adventures here and images like the one above always have me anxious to return to Puerto Rico and El Yunque to experience her special brand of magic again and again.
*Photo credit: José Francisco Salgado, PhD.