The water felt alive

Three hours and thirty-two minutes. My kindred spirit’s face looked like a washed out watercolor portrait. I left the dishes on the tiled floor, the roasted sunflower seeds on the pan, and my pair of jeans on the lid of the laundry bin. I left all the windows wide open because it was the evening of celestial conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn.

“the planets haven’t been this close together in nearly 400 years, and haven’t been observable this close together at night since medieval times, in 1226.”

Jasss and I met online ten years ago.

I told him I was invited to deliver a talk to a local youth organization in a barrio earlier that day. I asked them to stand up, move their right arm, hand open from right to left, as if caressing the wind. “Think of something in nature that makes you feel in awe.” Without my request or instruction, I saw one of them close her eyes while performing the act. Next step, “place your hand on your chest, and think of a dream that gives you a sense of purpose.” Three more closed their eyes while doing so. Ten seconds. “Move your hand on the side and raise it as if making a promise, think of what you have done that has added value to someone else’s life or your community’s.”

I found myself closing my eyes.

“My brother who is a Buddhist monk once mapped out the springs in the surrounding mountains and forests, and we got water from them. We drank from our containers for days, and the water, the water …felt so alive.”

A dear friend, a dear uncle, and three dear dogs passed away this year. During the necrology mass for my late uncle, I was asked to give a little speech about him, and I reminisced how he taught us the folk song “sa tuburan” / “in the spring”. My voice broke as I realized that we will now just be drinking from the stream of his memories. To quench the yearning.

“To cross the dark times, I create a bridge between my curiosity and sense of adventure.” My dear friend clasped his hands while talking about crossing. As a seasoned hitchhiker and a living poet, I could only imagine of, and revel in the many borders he has transcended.

I cautiously hopped from one big rock to another in the cove. The sea was dark and hazy, almost ethereal. There was a very strong typhoon in Bicol region that November day. Between me and the grey horizon was a soft miracle – one, two, almost fifteen sea turtles – heads and beaks popping out of the stillness – a rhythmic ritual only wild nature can hold on its eternal altar.

The water in my eyes felt more alive.


sketch by my beloved Marrz

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