On the Blue Shore of Silence
click image above for a better look

photos İMary Heebner 2001

"Navigue, construyendo la alegria". - "Sail on, inventing joy."
carved on a wooden beam beneath the entrance to Isla Negra

Isla Negra is not an island, yet it is indeed an oasis of ideas, humor and humanity concentrated within a flea market's feast of collectibles, along the basaltic shoreline of the rugged Pacific. It is a rambling wooden house that meanders like a complicated train of thought, poised like a marooned ship above a restless ocean

Above all, Neruda was a curator of memory. Because it is difficult for the mind to hold on to many memories at once, he gathered up objects as if to store his thoughts among them, so that they existed and surrounded him even when their name had left his mind. To the glass fishing floats he could relegate the memory of the fishes' eye caught in the depths of the sea. The beetles and butterflies, small terrestrial ambassadors, could hold the memory of armor and flight. The ship's figureheads, with doleful eyes staring out to sea from the living room window, let him store his fears and longing. And the little hand painted sign from a cobbler's shop in Temuco, carried the bewilderment and wonder of his childhood.

Journal excerpt:
Mary Heebner
Isla Negra, Chile, February 1999                      
view the book