I usually love airports.

Just returned home from a 4-day trip to Havana to work with the wonderful Malpaso Dance Company. The day before my flight home I got up at 3:30am to watch a spectacular display of waves crashing against the sea wall (called the Malecon). My adventurous buddy Laura joined me to catch this spectacle I’d been hoping to see since my 1st trip to Cuba fifteen years ago. Thirty foot waves bashed against the sides and enveloped the roadway. Our street was a hurricane wind-tunnel and the chaos of air and noise and salty water was primal and inebriating. Like the dirty brush water that enables a magnificent painting.

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We were woken up by our landlady a few hours later to say that flood-waters were rising in the neighborhood and we should probably make our escape. Everyone from our house gathered round to give moral support as I loaded Laura onto my back and waded across the now Venice-like street. I’m so tall, she looked like my pet monkey. A stranger from the neighborhood led us across to keep everyone from falling into a drain. It was maybe my favorite moment from the trip because it exemplified something special about Cuba: a community that will immediately come together to help out even a stranger and put individual concerns on hold to be present and kind.

I consider myself to be 100% all-American. Europe, for example, is a nice place to visit, but I am never quite able to adjust my rhythm to other cultures enough to feel “at home.” And even though America fails more and more to fulfill the promise of the American dream of success to anyone willing to work hard enough, I am personally fortified, in some ways even defined by its ethic.

However, as I sit waiting for a connecting flight in the Miami Airport, I am struck with the same feeling I have every time I leave Havana. It’s like I just took a bath, then had to go clean the garage. As couples and groups push their way to the ticket counter, to change flights because of winter storm 2016, I feel overwhelmed by the pervasive pasture of self-importance. Each person is more important than the next, more angry than the next. Each person isolated by their singular outrage that they want acknowledged, compensated, and healed by a gate agent. People literally shove past me to be ahead in line, blind to the presence of another human in the very same boat. The cell phones causing each person to obliterate others’ personal space and sound. A sea of individuals – mighty kings of a floating bubble, owning the airport, searching for gate agents and Starbucks baristas to rule over.

HavanaCapitol I am not saying that Cuba does not have its own challenges to surmount and I am certainly not saying that after a year of lightened embargo that Cubans are not starting to adopt some American habits (not to mention that there is still an embargo and while more and more Americans travel there to use resources, there is still not openness to supply resources. Problems ensue), but I am saying that getting a break from the relentless selfishness and lack of presence is wonderfully soul renewing. It gives me the perspective, for the few days this awareness will last, that we have a huge problem culturally. Our default right now on many levels is spiritually bankrupt, and not because Miley Cyrus showed you her boob, it is because we are greedy and are encouraged culturally to be greedy. I know in a few days I will be back immersed in my awesome iPhone and will wonder why my own impatience and entitlement are making me unhappy. But today I am happy in my mind to be wading in Cuban flood waters.

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21 Comments

  1. these pictures are fucking awesome! how’s that for cussing!! love you like crey crey and although not much to take photos of in Dal town, please let me know if you come through! you have a place to stay…

    1. You are the #1 comment and a #1 human. Perfect use of the f bomb. I wont be coming through, but I’ll plan to make a trip! Miss you.

  2. thanks for sharing your photos and video of the Cuba that I know and love. You are a much better photographer than me, but when you are in NYC soon, I share some from my last trip. See you soon.

    1. Happy to have a buddy in you who knows in the mannah with both miss Havana. You are on for a travel photo slideshow (and a cocktail) this month.

  3. This is beautiful – thoughts, images, writing. I’m so “in”! Thank you for making me think and reflect. Let me be your armchair traveler. I will be the well wishing angel in your shoulder.

  4. Hi,Judyth from Boise Idaho.we miss you and your wonderful dancing group.so nice to see your new blog.where are you located now? What’s your latest dance eat. I have loss touch with you.are you by yourself or sis you form another group.boise is in a sea of building.you will not regognize downtown.boise has finally come alive!

    1. Hi Judyth! Thanks for commenting. I miss Boise too. What a wonderful place. Glad to hear there is so much happening. I have not formed another group but am enjoying deeply, being a solo artist again. I’ve been working on a documentary for the past 2 years that I am hoping to complete by the end of this year. My next dance will be performed in NY at the Joyce Theater by BalletX in August. It’s called Big Ones and is set to the music of Amy Winehouse. There’s a link on treymcintyre.com if you want to check it out.

  5. Your pictures are wonderful and your comments on life appreciated. A few days ago I had the pleasure and total delight in seeing Ballet X perform the BIG Ones in Vail.Your choreography is amazing! A breath taking wonderful treat!
    I do wish you and maybe a new company will perform in Denver. I’m the lady that sat next to you at the Now premiere night at Vail
    International Dance Festival a few years ago. Keep exploring to the limit . Thank you and Namaste.
    Cheers.
    Miriam

    1. Thank you MPL! I’m so glad you saw Big Ones in Vail. Wish I could have been there. I remember you! That night was so nerve-wracking with the work I was presenting. You were so nice. Thanks for writing.

  6. Love your comments and pictures. Gifted in many ways. Good luck with the New York production–wish I could see it.
    Consider posting for your fans?

    1. Hey Kathryn: Thank you! I really wish I could post full ballets but music rights are a hurdle for that. BalletX just posted some excerpts on their Facebook page along with the rest of the rep they have been doing in Vail.

  7. wow. i read all three. took me back…to idaho, to cuba, to hemingway! and the art, the humanity, the juxtapositioning of flood waters and airports…contrasting cultures. this is why we travel. we go “out there” to learn even more about ourselves. keep going…take us with you and show us the world through your sensitive and intelligent eyes. thank you for this. xxg.

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful response Gillian. You hit on one of the reasons I have gratitude for my profession. I end up in places that I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen on my own and get to discover things in an unexpected way. Thank you for the encouragement.

  8. Cuba 3 was very well written. Ive always known you to be articulate in getting your ideas across artistically whether through dance, acting, film or photography. So its refreshing to get further insight from your writing. You truly are a Renaissance man of many talents.

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