Wednesday, October 17

There is something about sitting on a bus on a long haul, 
bound for somewhere, just gazing outside the window, 
while images of life zoom and blur past your vision---
grasslands, trees , endless power lines, small sleepy towns, 
nameless people transacting the day's keep, 
the sun burning down over vast cornfields. 
This time, my kids and I were travelling up north to Bataan 
and had a couple of stopovers in two other towns. 
This was around August, the dead of the rainy months. 
It was a real foggy morning and early yet 
as we left home from the south at 4am. 
We reached Pampanga by six and heard mass 
at that famous church half-buried in lahar.
Mt. Pinatubo Eruption. 
That was memorable for me as it was the year
I had my first real job in Manila,
 and a few weeks into starting work,
I got to the office 
and find my desk covered in white ashes.
You would have thought it was snowflakes,
but obviously
were remnants of the volcanic disaster. 
Remember that Pampanga is about three hours
away from Manila,
so go figure 
how epic, or cataclysmic, 
it was back then. 

Anyway, as there was nothing better to do inside the bus
 but listen to the children chatter, I decided 
to take some shots while we sped away on the road. 
It happens each time.A sense of disconnect washes over you, 
much like viewing a silent film for hours. 
You know there is something taking place, 
but going through a different motion and not hearing any sound
 compels you to philosophize about what you are seeing. 
You may either put imaginary words into the scene, 
or create a sort of musical score to it 
with a nocturne, a serenade, or something 
retrospective of those movies from a bygone era. 
Real, but dreamy. 
Fleeting, but unforgettable. 
There, but not quite. 
Serene and silent, 
yet overly tempting to the senses.

I've always loved silence 
if you care to ask me, 
because  of the advantages it affords people--
being able to compose one's thoughts, 
to daydream, to ruminate, to observe, to relish, 
without having to explain one's self to the world--
while the world herself 
is bustling with sounds,
 with action, with a feast of flavors and aroma!
I love that when I sit on a bus 
going somewhere 
on a long haul, 
I instantly become
 a spectator,
 remotely sharing in the happenings, as I 
silently fish out my camera, 
and freely take into account
 what I would call 
life in motion, 
if only 
 in a haze.

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