Tuesday, November 01, 2016
Some sorts of quiet are holy, like the hush of mornings for days of mandatory rest. Today is November 1, and I am reminded by the stillness outside of this room that while the occasional things stir, people are in bed for All Saints' Day. It is already a little past seven, and Dumaguete refuses to wake up. There are the sounds of lonely tricycles plying the streets which come in ungenerous intervals, the otherwise familiar whirr of engines suddenly, refreshingly, alien. There is the meowing of my cat, a plaintive sound marinated in the letter "m" that indicates displeasure, and I know that it is protest over the fact that I am adamant in keeping him inside, the outside -- where his lovers await -- off-limits to him, at least for now. The slow register of other sounds is an echo of the big rain from last night. While I write this, I play the mournful orchestral music of Max Richter, which strikes me as appropriate for the stillness that pervades: his music do not invade the quiet, they underline it. But I have been awake for some hours now. To be precise since midnight. The medicine I am taking for the current tumble with the coughing and the sniffling have rendered my hours virtually in chaos for several days now. My mind does not follow the regular hours, and my body more so; only the day before the other day, I had gone to bed for what should have been a quick early afternoon nap, and woke up to the sight of blue-dimmed darkness outside my windows; I checked the clock, and saw that it was 5, enough for me to be convinced that I had slept so thoroughly, I had woken up to the last of the day's sunlight -- only to realise that what I was seeing were not the blue shadows of dusk but the blue fingers of dawn. Yesterday, I had fallen asleep at 6 PM, and had been roused to wakefulness by a dream that even my unconscious deemed was fit for fiction. I woke up quickly to grab the plot my sleep was giving me, only to find it quickly dissipating in the midnight minutes of my wakefulness. All I remember from the dream is that there was a he, and there was a she, and there was a cat, and a gun, and some frenetic unspecified hunger -- and as to why my unconscious was convinced this random set of things would make for tantalising fiction, I have no idea. By 3 AM, fully awake by then, I figured it was time to eat, and I found myself in the bright interiors of the Jollibee downtown, where I finished finally Noelle Q. de Jesus' Blood Collected Stories
, took notes for the review I planned on doing -- and when that was done, the day had already started, and the dusky blue that began to show convinced me perhaps it was time I strolled down the Rizal Boulevard only two blocks away. I had not done that for God knows how long. I missed the sight of the sea particularly in the brightness of early morning, but it was the sunrise coming off the horizon that I really wanted to see. I wanted to hear the sound of the waves breaking on the shore. And I listed to that for a while, convinced once more that all the universe wanted us to be is to be attendant in listening to its breathing. Standing there, in the brick-and-cement breakwater, I breathed in the small stirrings of a day beginning. And if I were capable of synesthesia, I perhaps would say that in that instance, I felt the sky meow as it blended the hazy blue of early early morning with the golden earnestness of breaking day; that the sunlight liberated from the horizon suddenly whooshed everywhere in bell-like clangs and suddenly bathed earth and pavement still wet from last night's rain with the prickling promise of drying. But all I could hear were the waves breaking quietly on the shore. I suddenly realised how much I missed that sound, that cycle of washing over as water met sand and stone, and it took me back to all the instances in my life where all I had were moments in time bundled up with me lying on some beach basking in the soothing gentleness of that sound of breaking surf. I am a boy again of 8, and today I am spending the morning getting dark from too much sun in Silliman Beach. I am a man of 33, and today I am going to spend all of my hours just contemplating the quiet of Sugar Beach in Sipalay. And so on and so forth. It amazes me how memory knows no space and knows no time, and perhaps memory is the fifth dimension the universe is built with. Wouldn't that be something to discover? That all of the world, that all of life, is just a figment of collective memory? Perhaps that is what God is: the memories of all humankind coming together in a gel, oozing with this secret: that if we wanted to know the Divine, it is in all of us, and the first step to finding it is to listen to each other's breathing, to catch the sound of the sea breaking on the shore, to discern the hum of the universe and realise it is the very pulse our hearts dance to.
 This is Where You Bite the Sandwich
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