DAVAO CITY (21 March 2011) — I have a million things on the backburner, but never mind all that. I am going to write. I am going to write or I’ll go crazy. Writing has always been my therapy for tunnel vision. It’s scary to realize I haven’t written anything crazy in a long time.
First, I had to put the journal out so I could run off to present a paper here, do a workshop there, or give a lecture somewhere else. I come back to a load of exams to check, papers to grade, lessons to prepare. So serious. Meanwhile, it seemed like there always was someone waiting for me at the office. With something equally serious. Oh, Lord.
This had been going on for months. Months. I’d taken to shutting down my cell phone just to shut out the flow of stuff I’d rather not know while I kept the paper train moving.
At midnight Sunday, the last figure showed up on my grading sheet. I rewarded myself with a quiet hour standing under the light of the humongous moon. Moonlight so bright, the tanod did not need to call out to make sure it was me moving about in my yard. He waved at the crazy lady who loves the supermoonbeam.
(Sounds like the horse outran the tamaraw and had his way with her. Aaargh. Spring fever made the horse do crazy things.)
What’s a perigee? Or is it apogee? Never mind, whatever it is, it just means the moon wants to come down on me.
Our rabbit quietly dogged my feet as I ambled down the driveway. He gets frisky around midnight, but he seemed to recognize that moment for what it was. He stalked, keeping pace, stopping when I did.
Mama wanted a sense of space, but even the moon seemed to want to close in on me. There it was, bigger than we have ever seen it. If I reached out for it, maybe I could push it back to where it’s supposed to be.
It’s like the tsunami in Japan and the rebellions in Africa and the Middle East. Closing in on us and bigger than we have ever seen. I mean us. We. You’d think it’s happening in our backyard and that we should actually do something about making it stop. Push ‘em back. Undo what’s done. Like, we could? Lunacy.
My brother is in Japan and every time I ask him how he and the family are, he says there’s nothing to worry about. Normal workday for him and the wife. And the little one never even had to miss school. Meanwhile, across the ocean, we got sent home before the tsunami ripples hit our shores. Days later, I almost slugged somebody for that last bottle of betadine, until I stopped and thought about the wisdom of rubbing it on my neck to protect my thyroid.
Say what? Jeez. When did I start believing that BBC advisories came through text messages? Shut that phone!
Yeah, but if the Fukushima reactor blows, will it drill a hole and tunnel all the way to China?
Tunnel vision makes one lose a perspective on things. Tunnel vision makes us latch on to the inconsequential, the illogical, the frustrating.
Tunnel vision makes me look at my mango tree in a new light. I examine it branch by branch, working out which section in the upper branches would be the best place to roost when the flashflood comes to engulf my house.
I’m outta here.
In the morning, hubby took one look at morose me and bundled me up in his car for a ride up to my favorite stretch of the mountains. As we hit the KM-62 marker somewhere in Marilog, my spirit lifted. It soared higher when we got to my maze. That’s about two kilometers of road slicing through the solid walls of the mountain on either side. We’re off to find the Minotaur. I imagine that at any time, a giant head would peek over the mountain wall and a giant hand would reach out and pluck our puny car off the road, like the car were a matchbox model running through a play town set and the boy now wants to put his toys away.
Oh, gloom. Kids don’t have matchboxes and play towns no more. It’s all virtual. Looking at these sheer mountain walls, today’s kids would probably imagine the car defying gravity, going off the road and up the wall where there is no waiting giant on the other side. No Minotaur. Instead, maybe a space port.
We stopped. Nippy air. Crisp and clean. I rested my back against the soft lichen covering the mountain wall. Bliss. This is real. Really soft. Springy.
Up high and on the right, a statue looks down. Sto. Niño of the Woods. That’s up in Yellow Gate at Ladian, where they have ziplines and probably the highest vantage point thereabouts. For a hundred bucks, daytrippers can rent a clean room for the night there.
Somewhere further, modest digs down at the Epol waterfall and swimming hole only cost fifty bucks. Or for less than short time motel rates, inquire further down the road at JVS Peak, Castlemount Ridge, Island of the Sky, Lawi-lawi Cottages, maybe Whitington Creek. Oh, the place doesn’t have to have a name and a sign. Residents here are known to accept mountain-hungry guests on homestay.
The fog crept in. A reluctant shower played coy. We headed home shouting our heads off in tune with Jon Bon Jovi, Grace Slick, Bryan Adams, and – incredibly – Seals and Croft. We may never pass this way again. I wanna laugh while the laughing is easy.
Voice on the radio said he was playing adult rock, whatever that was. Man, the world changed while I wasn’t looking. But hubby is still here beside me, and now he too has taken to wailing loud enough for the mountains and the moon to hear. Uh-oh. (Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan’s column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to [email protected] “Send at the risk of a reply,” she says.)