In Praise of Sao Miguel
By J. Medeiros
Sao Miguel was the second island in the Azorean archipelago to be discovered by the courageous and curious Portuguese. Known as the “Green Island” (Ilha Verde), it is a quaint and charming gem in the seas of the mid-Atlantic Ocean. It is the proud home of the capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores, a city both ancient and new, the great harbor of the Azorean heart, shining and shimmering with the effervescence of the eternal Portuguese soul!
Its native inhabitants are popularly known as “coriscos,” a term that defines the “bolts of lightning” often associated with the volcanic activity so common to the natural history of the island. The “coriscos,” both far and near, are the illustrious inheritors of a great and noble tradition; the home of distinguished forefathers...capitoes and soldados, noble and farmer, rich and poor, loyal and true...who sailed the distant oceans only to find peace, joy, and eternal happiness on a glorious and most beautiful semi-tropical island paradise.
The children of Sao Miguel are the descendants of Frei Goncalo Velho Cabral, the most noble and excellent founder of the island. They are also the children of the great Azorean Diaspora, reaching to the far-off and distant lands of America and Canada, Brasil and Africa, Asia and Australia. They are the descendants of a profound glory and strength, who proudly claim lineage to the great and noble lines of the houses of mother Portugal.
From the dramatic beauty of the Nordeste to those who rest by the natural pools of Mosteiros; from the joyously colorful shores of Sete Cidades to the glowing caldeiras of Furnas; from the Ilheu of Vila Franca to the red roofs of Maia; from the seven “lombas” of the first settlement at Povoacao to the cobblestone streets of Ribeira Grande; from the gates of S. Bras in Ponta Delgada to the steps of Nossa Senhora da Paz in Vila Franca do Campo; out of every hill and “grota,” from every “concelho” and “freguesia,” out of every “lomba” and “lugar,” the children of Sao Miguel echo the profoundly mystical qualities of its island of a thousand shades of green.
As they speak of their honorable island home, micaelenses are proud and strong; mighty and powerful. Micaelenses know a glorious history and an illustrious beauty. Micaelenses know the rolling beauty of green pastures and the deep blue of rolling waves. Micaelenses know the heights of sheer, breathtaking cliffs and the depths of flower-filled ravines. Micaelenses know the freshness of natural springs, the beauty of black-sand beaches, the tastiness of native tea, and the sweetness of home-grown pineapples.
Micaelenses enjoy boasting about their many delicious, local varieties of cheese and the many different kinds of fish that swim arounds its shores. They speak admiringly of the colorful hyderangeas that dot every hillside and follow every road. Micaelenses enjoy boasting about their steaming “caldeiras,” their narrow streets, and their rolling hills. In fact, Micaelenses enjoy boasting about their home island in the most furious and fascinating dialect of Portuguese that nobody else can understand!
Viva a Ilha Verde! Viva os micaelenses!
Respectfully submitted by a boastful descendant of Micaelense immigrants to America,
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