It is late and I am drunk with love for this rain. Most people complain about the rain and the inconvenience that comes along with it. People complain about everything. It is a relief to know that nothing bothers me as much these days. I don’t mind weirdos, losing socks, sadness, odd dreams of my living room being flooded and beautiful fishes are swimming in it. Perhaps there is a meaning to that dream but I shall not bother to investigate. I do not mind my melancholy. I fancy going somewhere with you, say, to some hidden shack with moonlight leaking through spaces beneath the windows, or down the street at a bar drinking a handsome drink, eavesdropping and finding that humans are generally clueless. I love listening to Chopin’s nocturnes on a night like this though at times it fades into the saddest music my heart could bear. I am glad that I have this moment, alive, vulnerable, and meandering.
The candles keep me from fumbling in the dark. I am thinking whether I should go for another chocolate, or have a glass of wine, or put on some socks to keep my feet warm. Well. First things first. Chocolate it is.
There is something that I remember tonight that I want to share with you. It’s about a time that was lonely, and one day, I took the train from New York to Los Angeles. I was fleeing from something, from many things, I suppose. A vague life, unmaterialized dream, some fear or unhappiness that I cannot put a finger on. I took the train so I had time to think. Anyway, what I remember the most about that trip of three nights passing through several states, was that, I sat next to an older man in his late sixties. We were both on our way to LA for different reasons. He told me a little bit about his life growing up as a black kid in North Carolina. I was in my mid-twenties then, and as you know, I grew up in Cebu. From all angles, we had nothing in common. He was pleasant and well-mannered. He told me that he was going to LA to see his ex-wife who was dying, that had she asked to see him one last time. She broke his heart, left him for another man. But I never stopped loving her all these years, he said, so I’m going to see her for the last time. Then tears fell from his eyes. We were passing through Colorado at that time and I looked out the window beside him, wanting to glimpse the sky as he quietly wiped the tears from his eyes. In my heart I was crying too, about nothing, about everything. We all ache for the same things, don’t we? And how fragile we are. How moved I was at that moment of vulnerability, the utter humanness between two strangers who will never see each other again.
I don’t know why I remember this tonight and why I felt the need to tell you. Perhaps it’s because lately it seems that I am encountering a fog. I don’t understand journeys, the human psyche, religion, love. Life is so startling. I am rambling here. I am being utterly asinine.
A sense of elation fills me as I am writing to you using my favorite fine point pen. I am thinking of the travel of this piece of paper, passing through streets and cities, distant lands and foreign sky, from my hand to yours. The world is filled with small wonders.
I’m going to sit here for a while and listen to the music of rain and think of you reading my letter under the skylight.
I send you my love,
I went to the desert and I relished being there, not only for the quality of the silence that does not incite loneliness, but because one is there simply to witness. It is so quiet you could hear the rocks and the sky converse in a secret language. I saw a desert hare (I think it was), walking as if in search of something. Sensing unfamiliar human sounds, the hare paused, looked around, then went away and disappeared. I felt like an intruder, bringing him (I assumed it was male and I named him Waldo) into stillness and discomfort in his own territory. Come back, I said to Waldo in my mind, I’d like to make your acquaintance. I admire the purity of your living. In contrast, we, humans, are often plagued with ambition and bias. Off Waldo went, without fuss and with no comment. There in the desert, you pay close attention. You respect the strange looking bug dragging its feet. You want to investigate those birds flying very low. No smash, jolt, and bang of urban noise. You view the world with a different set of eyes. You could walk the farthest distance and find that you have underestimated your own endurance. Right there in the open space and silence, the hours pass without any ruckus. You are shaken by a rock’s stillness. You are stunned by the sun’s swagger. You meet creatures who do not judge you for your feats and losses. If you pay heed, poetry abounds.
Twilight, going back and retracing the trails, nocturnal animals began their reign. Light slowly faded into shades of gray and amber and left behind a dazed and hopeful world.
Evening, all quiet, the stars at their brightest. In the presence of that wonder, of what use is speech? You are in awe, no sense to ask where the day went. You could lie on the ground and look at the stars forever; you pray for more time to gaze at them. You are a different person in the city; the stars are distant and trivial to your daily affairs. What a refuge to burrow in the desert where one feels free and open to witness the world’s quiet miracles.
The Mormons in the 19th century gave the name Joshua Tree, in reference to the Biblical story in which Joshua raised his hands to the sky in prayer. As a child, I’ve always had reverence for trees. Trees take in everything and do not complain. I looked at the Joshua trees and thought they must ache too, standing there with minimal rain, yet living up to a hundred years or more if they survive the desert’s austerity. There must be a higher being in existence, watching over and taking care of those trees.
I want more of it, the peace and quiet, the still world that bears everything with grace.