Today I needed to take a walk–so I did.
I realized that I hadn’t gone to the bay in months, so I decided to pay it a visit. When I approached the famed fountain of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, I saw a man seated by the open fountain. His clothes were tattered and dirty, and he seemed small compared to the waters that were dancing behind him. But he was reading a paper with his spine erect, his posture dignified by the presence of words. It’s as if he were feeding himself by feeding his mind. It was beautiful.
Further on, I saw another man seated by one the benches in the park that I hadn’t realized was there all along. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking, of course, but again, he looked absolutely poetic seated on a bench surrounded by green, which in turn is surrounded by cars and a whole kingdom of concrete and gray.
I strolled toward the waters of the bay, and as I stood behind a tree to watch a group of men catching fish, I saw a man catch a large fish and turn to his comrades with glee. I wasn’t able to take his photo from up close, but I will remember how large his smile had been. It was beautiful.
Further down, a man in a bright blue shirt and a “Mamang Sorbetero” hat was picking up trash and carting it along. From how he looked, you would have thought that he was, indeed, an ice cream man instead of a street cleaner. His bright blue shirt stood out from the backdrop of sea-gray and yacht-white.
Then, finally, I saw a seagull hovering above the bay. It was hardly flapping its wings, and when it did, it would glide seemingly effortlessly around its “target”–a white double-decker boat that seemed large and looming compared to the seagull. I remembered my first encounter with a seagull, whose name was Jonathan Livingston, and I wished for a moment that I were him, flapping my wings and hovering above the earth and the waters that now seemed to be constantly in my eyes.
There’s been much turmoil in me lately. There have been far more questions than I am capable of processing at the moment, far too many answers that I need right now.
But while the answers aren’t yet there, I will revel in the fact that just within reach are beauty and poetry–dignified in their simplicity, and utterly real in their ordinariness.
For now, for the moment, that should be enough.