The wind chime.

Writing magic realism young adult old soul
Art by: @hello_dongwon

These days, when I’m silent and staring off into space, I think a lot about you. Not other worlds nor imagined sanctuaries. Just you.

In the blur between my dreams and reality, symbolism says that you are a wind chime.

Delicate, with a kind of beauty only something so obviously fragile can have. I approach you timidly, fearing that I may step on the wind’s path and break the spell that is keeping the very atmosphere on edge. Yours is a song the universe has waited a long time to hear again, so even the birds hold their breath. The clouds do not move for fear of casting a shadow and depriving the world of the sight of afternoon sunlight dancing off your stained glass.

Summer’s breath carries the ocean spray, freedom flies with the winds. Honeyed light mingles with music, and the world sighs : “At last.”. The universe sinks into your melodies, finds itself in the tinkling of glass in a little seashell house by the cove.

A feeling of undeserved privilege washes over me. But when life gives you music, you dance.

Yes, you are a wind chime of a person. You turn the wind into song, the light into elusive patterns beating to your rhythm.

But when you break, you cut all those around you with your angry shards. Distantly, it dawns on me then that you are just glass, like I am just clay, in the end. You are straying fragments picked up from the ocean floor, as I am scattered remains of a star — both of us longing to be whole. You are like me, earthly, normal.

It was foolish of me to see in you more than there was. Or maybe it wasn’t. But it’s hard to think straight with glass shards in my hand and the silent accusation ringing traitorously in my head: “I should never have trusted you.”

Wispy warmth.

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Art by : Alexandra Levasseur

I let my hair down at night so the stars will mistake it for the midnight sky and settle there. I think it works, because often I awake to stardust woven in my hair and galactic visions streaked in my mind’s eye.

My hair, I have noted, has grown out, giving an air of incredible softness to my face. A sort of gentle femininity I am unused to. For about a year now, I’ve been sporting what I call an office-girl hairstyle : shoulder length with long layers. But now I feel as though it’s all worn in, if a hairstyle can be that. The straight, sharp edges have mellowed out, the humidity is creating waves out of my hair, making it undulate with every nascent thought, every momentary, imagined world. My hair has seen one too many case of bedhead, has been too warm —spread out about my pillow during long, contemplative mornings— for it to be office-like.

An overlong fringe now brushes my cheekbones, long layers tickle the underside of my jaw all day long. My hair has ventured well past my clavicle. Can a hairstyle feel homey? Because this one does.

I have never known myself to be this soft-looking, even when I had hair tumbling all the way down my back. I’ve never woken up to so many stars caught in my hair. I want to think it’s this inner gentleness I have been working on, drawing it out gently from a well inside of me, wisp by wisp.

Now it’s time to cut this wispy warmth, but I feel in me that this won’t change a thing, that it won’t stop the stars from coming.

All Roads Lead to the Sea

“I disappear for half-hours. I disappear for walks that take me through interweaving roads that always, always, lead to the sea.”

 

sea

I can’t complain.

I could be stuck from 9 to 5 in a glass tower lost among so many others in some cyber-city, like a modern damsel in distress, not knowing how to save myself. I could be glancing longingly at the city, the world from behind a fax machine.

But everyday between 9 and 9:30 in the morning, my eyes feast upon sparkling seawater crashing gently on soft, sandy beaches. And before that, it seems that I walk through overgrown lavender fields, pushing through bushes of flowers that seem to spring through the glass of the bus window. I am able to be there to cherish the sight of grass glistening with morning dew. I can’t complain; I have nearly fallen asleep on low-lying rattan sofas, warmed by the sun on a terrace, hypnotised, lulled by the pretty displays of sunlight dancing through the geometric patterns of the wood. I have blinked into consciousness through haze and haze, past daydreams and reveries, to low chuckles and to the distant sounds of soft conversation had over steaming mugs of tea or coffee.

I can’t complain because ‘lunch breaks’ have come to mean walks by the sea, and quietness as you watch people swim, sunbathe, eat ice-cream, read a book. I can’t complain because when my mind won’t write (and my pen is still full of ink) I disappear for half-hours. I disappear for walks that take me through interweaving roads that always, always, lead to the sea.

I can’t complain because I cannot tell you of all the times I have worn that dress, the one with the ship wheels and sailboats amid wavelets of people dressed in slacks and clicky heels and it has not mattered.

And every day when I go home, slack and tired, I see a child and a fisherman, just silhouettes, side by side, throwing their lines out at sea, into the setting sun.

No, I can’t complain. Right now, this is all I need; it is contentment enough. But I don’t want to delude myself into thinking this is all I will ever need. I do not believe in this rigid idea of ‘happiness’—something you happen upon, that remains much the same over time. But I believe in fluid contentment, in inner peace, something that has an ebb and flow, a beginning, an end. Something that changes with you. Eventually, my heart will not be satisfied with what I have now and I will want something else. But not now, not right now. Right now, I have all I need. And I can’t com—and I am thankful, eternally.

Besides, I am learning that wanting more does not necessarily mean being ungrateful.


Listening to :

All Things Essential

“I do not need to see something for it to be beautiful. So long as I can feel it, not with my hands, but with this old, eternal truth that twists inside of me…”

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Art by: Tofuvi

I like being invisible.

Without wanting to get ahead of myself, I think that all the best things are.

Love, warmth, inspiration, contentment and that sense of inner peace deep inside of you. All the things we feel are invisible, even the things we think we see. Like midnights and 2 a.m.s that make the world seem larger and more infinite than it is—they are feelings and not merely moments.

Then there’s the wind, and even beauty. I do not need to see something for it to be beautiful. So long as I can feel it, not with my hands, but with this old, eternal truth that twists inside of me, it can be as beautiful as a million colours. It is why as I wander to the heart of Nature, I feel as much of an urge to let my eyes roam everywhere and drink up the scenery as I feel the urge to let my eyes close, and to let my truth speak to Nature’s truth instead. You know, a little boy once said that one can only see rightly with the heart, that what is essential is invisible to the eye, and I very much wish to believe that.

Timekeeping

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Illustration via Evergreen

There’s so much I want to write about.

Like how the dying sun turns the top of the trees red and colours part of the mountains in a foggy gradient of peach and blush pink. And how that creates a door that could carry you anywhere in time. I want to write about how I am slowly dragging away clouds with the tip of my fingers. About how the moon popped in to say hi in the middle of the day because it was lonely and it’s always scared we’ll forget about it. But then the moon only showed part of itself because it’s shy.

I want to paint with words the image of large, white clouds drifting behind solid mountains, casting shadows that provide shade to these proud giants.

I want to write about how the old mountains have roots that insinuate themselves deep into the Earth, and how the clouds are nomadic and are perpetually destroying and creating themselves all over again. I want to write about how they are both immense and mighty forces of Nature, how they are both beautiful and yet look nothing alike. I want to write about how beautiful it is to watch the two together (If they can be so disparate and share the same patch of Earth and sky, why can’t we, when we are all made of clay and a singular spark?)

And I want to write about the awful midnight feeling travelling somewhere in my body—but there’s too much to write, and there’s simply no time left.

Threads of Fate

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Art by 93.minho

Something you hold onto impulsively when Life suddenly yells: “Catch!” at you. Something you chase after for a lifetime. You can either be pulled by it or led by it. Either way, so long as we are alive, we are attached to one. A thread of Fate, with filaments made of meaning. Each thread adding to the Tapestry of Time.

You see, I firmly believe that Meaning, cumulating in a certain kind of Destiny, is out there for us all. I believe that we’re all standing on this good Earth with both arms raised, fingers twitching, trying to catch onto one thread as life goes by like a bullet train. And then holding onto a thread as though it were a hanging strap. Something steadying. Meaning is out there, for every single one of us. We need only raise ourselves to meet it.

But we can ignore them too, you know. Refuse to hold onto them because they lead not to comfort but instead down rocky roads, uncharted lands. Because they pull too strong and go too fast. But if it so happens that you meet a thread of Fate and refuse it, another will still weave itself around your finger. The antithesis of a decision is not a not-decision. All there is is a decision you make versus a decision that is made for you.

Deciding to not follow the thread that lies before you is a choice. It is a decision. If out of fear you renounce it, if you refrain from following it because you do not want change—you merely give up your part in the play. But the play goes on without you. If you do not respond to Fate’s call, you will still be wrapped up in it. You cannot live outside of Life. You cannot live thinking you will forever be safe from hurt or risks or difficult decisions. There is no life that exists without such change. In refusing to take risks, you relinquish all power. This kind of neutrality you aspire to can never exist outside of books. You cannot be Switzerland. Even Switzerland is not Switzerland. There are always consequences. And you cannot rid yourself of the consequences of living.

 

 


Note: A reminder to myself, first and foremost, to not let fear dictate the choices we make. (Unless that fear is the fear of being eaten by a pouncing lioness, in which case, please let fear dictate your life choices).

2 a.m. In My Part of the World

“So know that if one day you’ve wondered about a stranger on the other side of the world,  if you’ve lived through 2 a.ms that seemed surreal and strangely detached, if one lonely night you have thought of me, I have thought of you, too.”

sketches___002_by_aenami-db81b5r
Art by: Aenami

I fell asleep to the sounds of thunder ripping apart the skies, and to the pitter-patter of rain soothing its pains. The vaporous veil of sleep fluttered against my eyelids and I fell gently into unconsciousness, the way a feather flutters to the ground.

Later, I awoke to a semi-realistic world and to puddles left on my balcony. My fingers, which had been so gently stained by watercolour, probed the cool surface. Once, a younger version of me had believed that there were forgotten cities and dormant forests hidden on the other side of puddles. That, if you weren’t careful (or if came your time for an adventure) your curious, probing finger would get sucked into whole other worlds. Other times, an older, quieter me would glide her fingers over these cool puddles and believe they were portals to places where it had also rained in the world. But not many people knew that.

I imagined my heart growing, aching as it did, as I left the lonely morning  in my part of the world to reach a cold balcony bathed in night, in some restless city. And right there, would be another version of me. Someone who did not look like me, who did not speak the language I did, who did not believe the things I did. But someone just like me in all the ways that mattered. Someone with a flickering inner light, cloaked in gentle loneliness.

There would be wonder. Delight. Two flickering lights would halfway meet, and like the dying fire of two candles, would each rekindle the other. There was a lot of quietness, of bathing in the soft glow of unspoken friendship, of not being alone on cold nights.

But there was an ache, too. The piercing constriction and expansion of hearts growing redder, fuller. As the night wore on, dreams and fears spilled into the milky way, over the city. There was something so simple and yet so singularly important about it. About sharing an overwhelming loneliness into the uncaring night.

The stars witnessed it all.

But they never saw the goodbyes that were really farewells, the “sleep wells” that veritably meant: “Please have a good life, be happy. I’m rooting for you.”. Because it was only by morning that the puddles would dry and life on the other side would call.  And we would never meet again. Because the same kind of rain never falls twice.

And now, today, on my balcony, as I watch the clear yet somber skies, I remember all the people I have thought of in my life. All those idle moments when I realised: “Oh! It’s someone’s birthday today!” or “Someone in the world is doing the exact thing I am doing right now.” and “I wonder how many other people are watching the exact same moon in this moment.”.

So know that if one day you’ve wondered about a stranger on the other side of the world,  if you’ve lived through 2 a.ms that seemed surreal and strangely detached, if one lonely night you have thought of me, I have thought of you, too.