What the wild winds bring

“And scents, they have this unique ability to bring us back, to elicit images from our minds that had long been forgotten.”

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Gif by : Stefanie Shank

A floating seed fell on my hand yesterday, carried over great distances by a zephyr, lifted through the atmosphere as though a dancer, all supple muscle and poised grace. Beautiful little thing it was too, the stem thin and elongated, the top softly spread out like an umbrella, or a ballerina’s tutu. It settled ever so gently on my sleeve, caught on a bit of string. So easy it would have been to dislodge it, but for all the times I had chased these floating seeds in my childhood to the ends of the scenery, the idea never even crossed my mind.

And so I kept it close, safe from the winds that had brought it to me. All day long, with a recovered sense of wonder, my finger absent-mindedly brushed against the feathery extremities, sending a feeble yet sharp scent of wildness darting in the air. And scents, they have this unique ability to bring us back, to elicit images from our minds that had long been forgotten.

I imagined fervent wishes whispered warmly in a bunched up bouquet of dandelions as the sun set, and a coldness settled in. A dress billowed in the wind, grass grazed tender calves, and a girl stood alone in an endless stretch of scenery.

I imagined that it must have been a long journey to here. That Nature, the Universe conspired to send me this floating seed and the message whispered urgently into it that spoke of a gentle loneliness. A message in a bottle, sent through the skies. And so, hills, meadows, trees and breeze together decided on the little seed’s fate : “You will go there, to her.” and sent it flying.

So, I keep close to my chest the things the wild winds bring. Sometimes it is voices, other times, this.

Who knows, that I was that girl on the hill, whispering feverishly for a friend. Who knows that this, this little floating seed is a message from myself, from lonely summers back, spent chasing floating seeds to make wishes. I cradle the seed as though it is a present.

And I say to myself, to that girl on the hill from summers back, that it will be alright. Wait for me, I say to her. You must not give up. Just wait for me.

I am glad to know that she did.


I have been having these vivid visions lately, tracing back to innocuous moments I had not understood before. Moments I could not grasp, as though two worlds had collided and I knew only of one, as a life unknown to me breathed all around. Sunsets, days at the beach, or afternoons spent muffled in a blanket, staring at the ceiling, at stars through the open window. How was I to know a piece of Fate was shrouding me then ? That an unchangeable thing was happening, that certain parts of my life were being set in stone. How was I to know, as I breathed quietly the air of gentle, lonely days ? But the air changed, and my skin turned inside out. I could feel it, that something was irrevocably different. Though what, I could never tell. Was not meant to understand.

I look back now, key in hand. The murmurs of the future that I could not comprehend  then finally reach me now. And it was never the words that mattered, but the feelings. Strong, bold feelings that leave you staggering. Feelings that ran deeper than any ocean, that had roots as far-reaching and as invisible as that of mountains. Feelings that are the truths that hold all of our beings together.

Do not give up. Wait for me. 

And even though what followed then were all of my darkest days, this feeling stayed, even if sometimes at the very edges of my fingertips, ready to slip into the void. But the truth is not the kind of thing that leaves so easily. I knew that truth, even when I seemingly didn’t. Even when I gave up, and continued giving up, and thought all of life was going to be just that : a series of abandons, I think part of me knew. Must have known to wait, to not give up. Whatever it was that held me back, made me lift my head up, I suspect it has a little something to do with voices of the past, and things the wild winds bring. I suspect it has to do with seeds from the past, coming into efflorescence in the present.

There are things we forget about that can only be woken up by triggers as unique as scents. There are things, truths, twisting, writhing inside of us, alive if sometimes to nobody but ourselves.

Stellar Thoughts •

“It’s hard to explain where I’m coming from when one minute I am laughing with everyone else at the beach and the next, I am staring off into space, into the layers of sand washing away into the sea. Thinking of scenes too otherworldly to comprehend, of thoughts that spirit you away.”

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Gif from the movie “Howl’s Moving Castle”

It’s hard to explain where I come from.

Not geographically. Or culturally, ethnically, socially. Not through these kinds of lenses, not through methods tried and true. There is not one lens that fits, not really. Nor is there a combination of them. All they project is an approximation, an à peu près* image, a translation for a word that has no equivalent.

But no, what I mean is that it is hard to explain—when I emerge from dazedly staring off into space— the depths of the worlds I was just a second before absorbed into. It is hard to explain what started it. How, from one blade of grass, my mind has built cities and ignited stars, conjured yellowed childhood memories and movie scenes. I cannot explain where I come from during bus journeys, cannot explain how there is this clear wistfulness pooling in my hands, staring me right back in the face, reading to me memories I have never experienced.

I’d give anything to hear

You say it one more time

I cannot explain how piano pieces make me feel unspeakable things, make me shudder, and my heart tremor with beauty and thinly-veiled fear. The fear that there is, somewhere in this wordless melody, hanging in the air between the vibrating strings of a piano, an echo of my own thoughts. And more importantly, the knowledge that behind it, there are hands and a brain and a heart that knew how to describe all of this giant, wordless feeling that swirls perennially inside of me. In no time at all, I can feel the fear, the anxiety, the disbelief from having found all that I have been looking for.

It’s hard to explain where I’m coming from when one minute I am laughing with everyone else at the beach and the next, I am staring off into space, into the layers of sand washing away into the sea. Thinking of scenes too otherworldly to comprehend, of thoughts that spirit you away.

Sometimes, my mind drifts. Sometimes I am shipwrecked in the Sea of Tranquility, feeling like the last person in the universe. And where silent moments before would find me stargazing from Earth, I am now watching its remains as though it twinkles as the stars do. As though its solitary ruins will guide me through the night, like the stars once did.

I feel like one of them, now, these stars I have longed to hold.

And yet, it all means very little now. I wanted so much to be somewhere else, to be part of the universe as though it were the big city and I just a country girl from Earth. But there is only silence now. The stars are not loud and the planets revolve without a word, while their moons follow. Some days, I think of extinguishing the stars, of putting them out and turning the lights off on this old, old universe. Other days, I sit quietly by a piano, nestled in the sea of tranquility and play a song I’m not sure I remember. I play to no one in particular, I play to keep the music alive, to not forget. I play because if I forget, nobody else will remember. I play to keep a part of my soul alive.

So it’s hard to say where I come from.

I mean, I’m not even sure how I got there.

Which winding paths and dirt roads I took, which side alleys I bypassed, which tracks I made myself.

That the universe was made

Just to be seen by my eyes **

But I think that lenses don’t really help. It is best, I think, to view these things with a naked eye.


*   à peu près : almost, nearly, approximately (but it is, to me, one of those expressions best left in the original language).

Listening to :

** The words in italics are all lyrics from this wonderful, wonderful song.

Born With the Stars (1/2)

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Art by: Pilar Zeta

I know I knew your soul from way before.

When you lay inert in the Universe, hanging like a star in the milky way, and life had not yet been breathed into you. I have a feeling we were close by. That we were born together, from the same breath. Or first it was you, and then me. You saw the world before I did. You couldn’t believe it. You couldn’t comprehend that you couldn’t believe it. Because a moment before, you were nothing. And then all at once you burst into existence. You didn’t exist and then, just like that, you did. You beheld the universe, everything, when moments before you had never seen.

And then I was born. My eyes new, and you knew then that you wanted to teach the world to me. What little you knew of it was mountains to my still flat consciousness. You taught me all the things I did not know, showed me stars and silence. We held hands as we explored the universe, like children but also like souls that had long been conserved in the same patch of sky. If life were a sentence, then you would be the word that came right before me. Your whole existence gave meaning to mine. And mine to yours. And one meant little without the other.

And then we parted.

 

Fleeting Little Phenomenon

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Art by: David Ng

“Aren’t you angry,” you asked “that we met only now, and we already have to say goodbye?”

I would have been grateful for even one day. For even the blink of an eye. Shooting stars and meteor showers are fleeting, too. Should we be angry that they couldn’t last longer? And yet, with these goodbyes, it’s so hard to focus. All I can think about are all the hellos they will bring with them. We have too little time to be upset. Whether it is a week or 60 years. It will never be enough time. Only infinity would ever satisfy us.

Am I angry? I haven’t given myself time to be.

It’s so rare, this. I can’t complain. My days are filled with thank yous to the Universe.

It is paradoxical, too.

That there will never be enough time. And yet however much of it we will get will be enough. Because this, this is like a comet we could have never caught at all. Something that only happens every hundred or thousand years. The requirements for this to happen were something along the lines of: to have been born on a Sunday at 13:03:56, gone to 3 different high schools, have had a friend called Dudley, seen a peacock every 2.5 years, worn green every other Tuesday, taken the bus 156 times a year and hated watermelon for half your life. If even one day had happened differently, could you honestly say life would have happened the same?

This thing we have is as beautiful as a meteor shower. And how lucky we are to have caught it. How lucky we are, that we do not have to spend the rest of our lives wondering.


Note: Ahhh, today is the last day. This is Day 30 of my little NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge. I wanted to end on something that said: “Ends are beginnings”. I’ve strayed a little from the intended goal, but I hope you liked it and that you’ve been enjoying these 30 days of writing. It’s certainly helped me understand my writing better. And with this, I guess this is the end of NaNoWriMo this year. Who knows, maybe next year…

 

All These Lights

“Then, a fragment of the universe that was rekindled many years ago today, a star that found home in between the ribs of a frail, crying body.”

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Gif by: Hajin Bae

Today was born a day of lights.

First the sun that stretched and stretched on its tippy toes, waiting to be picked up by the stratosphere and held up high. I swear I heard, at least once, giggles coming from the sky.

Then, a fragment of the universe that was rekindled many years ago today, a star that found home in between the ribs of a frail, crying body.

There were the fairy lights from the neighbours’, blinking owlishly in the night like new-born stars. Then, the green glare of two projectors, that, for one out-of-body moment, made me feel like I was Gatsby, looking across the water, gazing at that green light intently, captivated by it even with a whole firmament alight before me.

Then later still, in the cool, blue night air, city lights. Blurry and soft, so unlike the harshness of the suburbs by day. And so very still, yet so alive. It was…good to see the world look so small, to be disentangled from the city. And it’s good, just good in so many ways, to be somewhere with soft lights that you know will shine through the night.

And then, the most brilliant of all. The light in my mother’s eyes as she congratulates me on yet another trip around the sun.

Finally, the light that burns on shyly, hidden in my chest.


Note: This is Day 28 of my little NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge. Where’s Day 27 you ask? I’m still editing it >.< It’s proving to be one of the tougher things to write, but I am not giving up. Day 27 will be posted, tomorrow probably. Meanwhile, you can check out some of the entries from the days before, like this one from Day 25.

Starry Complexities

“We could whisper to the stars and tell them what happened to other stars, billions of years ago, tell them how they shattered and turned into people. Do you wonder if stars tell their children that when you die, you become a human? A faraway life, on a small blue planet. “

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Art by: LuviiiLove

I can already imagine it, with starry complexity. We will linger at the space station, floating around to haunting piano music softly diffusing across the universe, echoing down lonely black holes and asteroid fields. We’ll hang the clothes to dry on one of Saturn’s rings. On Saturdays (Or however we decide to name it) we’ll have barbecues on the sun and plant artificial roses on dwarf planets and dying stars for a pilot whose plane has crashed to find someday. We’ll pluck stars from space and rearrange the cosmos, play tennis with asteroids and write messages with our fingers across nebulae for Earth to see.

We can hide on the moon, sometime. Lie down in the sea of tranquility and tell corny jokes about how we aimed for the moon. We can close our eyes and move to the dark side, and pretend Earth doesn’t exist. We’ll live out our days in an alcove on a planet no one will ever discover.

We’ll make paperboats, watch them sail and burn in a constellation of stars. We could even reach inside one of them, our hands travelling all the way to the molten core, and touch someone’s consciousness. We could whisper to the stars and tell them what happened to other stars, billions of years ago, tell them how they shattered and turned into people. Do you wonder if stars tell their children that when you die, you become a human? A faraway life, on a small blue planet. So, children if you want to say hi, all you have to do is shine bright and they will know who you are? I wonder if humans are star-ghosts?

We could also hollow out one of the planets, and make home inside.

Trust me, we will never get lost. I have the universe inside of me. Did you know that there are more synapses in the human brain than there are stars in our Milky Way? And there are more possible brain connectivity patterns than there are atoms in the Universe? Our minds are larger and more infinite than the Universe. We are multitudes, eternal matter in perishable bodies.

“When we die,” you ask “do you think we go back to being stars? Do you think that some part of us goes into space? Like, the parts that used to be our eyes, when they rot and become dirt and minerals in the Earth, then feed a tree that later gets turned into wood brought on a spaceship—do you think I could see the universe then? Do you think I could get to be a part of it then? That I will be welcomed, like a missing limb, and I will finally remember? And slowly, like that, the Universe will start being whole again.”

“But you’ll forget me then, you’ll forget Earth.” I say.

“Not if you come with me.” you smile “Then we’ll forget about the lives we had here. But it’s okay, because you and I, we go way back, we were stars together. Then, we can remember who we were meant to be all along.”


Listening to:

Note: This is Day 25 of my NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge. I’m afraid with this one, I totally pretended like Science wasn’t a real thing. Don’t shove your hands down molten cores of stars, kids. You’ll be dead before you even get to try. You can read my previous entry for the challenge here. Also, ‘more infinite’ isn’t…really a thing. But eh, dramatics amirite.

 

The Lost Red String of Fate

“Yes, somewhere—somewhere that is not here, some time that is not now— there is quiet, there is peace. There is a touch of happiness, slight as the sun before it finally disappears into the horizon line. Better than, there is home. “

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Art by: nile-can-too

The thing I want exists somewhere in this world. Somewhere, somewhere in this vast blue planet (and I dare not think, maybe even beyond that), it is waiting. For me.

Yes, somewhere—somewhere that is not here, some time that is not now— there is quiet, there is peace. There is a touch of happiness, slight as the sun before it finally disappears into the horizon line. Better than, there is home. But miles and years stretch between us and I am left with all these thoughts.

All these doubts, this longing— I wonder, I wonder— is it going to be too much to ask from the Universe? To plot the graphs of lives, to tangle the winding web of Humanity and the Tapestries of Time just right, so that one day…One day, while walking down the street, I can catch a silver, an atom of this feeling, this loose thread of Fate I have yearned to catch?

But dark thoughts have embittered my heart and I doubt. Inexplicably, I think that if Life is made of intersecting threads, then part of the thread of me is still hanging on the old, wooden spool.