Friday, March 16, 2007

Afloat

nightskySummer is almost within arm's reach here in the Philippines. But in my heart and mind, there exist pockets where it's always summer: a clear summer night at any of the secluded beaches embracing at least some part of each of the 7,000+ islands that make up this country. No, I don't know which particular beach it is or even precisely where it's located. Nor do I care. All I know is that it's one of my mind's regular haunts.

The sea is calm, with only the slightest of undulations that bob me gently up and down as I float on my back, arms stretched out, hair fanning the area around my head, as naturally as the seaweed beneath me. I glimpse my toes peeping out of the water, water that feels almost balmy. Water that I know is blue in the harsh glare of daylight but looks a soothing grey and an enchanting silver under the benevolent glow of the moon. I make no movements of my own to stay afloat; the sea cradles me (is this how an infant feels in the womb?) with only my face and the tips of my toes exposed to the night air, my ears attuned to the soft whoosh whoosh sound that one hears beneath the water's surface. That, and each inhale and exhale, and the steady beating of my heart. These sounds are calming.

Time slows down to almost a standstill, and it feels like I'm on the cusp of Forever. In that moment I am one with the universe. I can ask for nothing more.

My body can't help but welcome the cocoon created by the sea. In the same way, my eyes can't help but be in awe of the wondrous sight of the night sky. The inky blackness of the heavens is dotted with millions upon millions of twinkling stars, and once in a while a shooting star takes center stage. They say one should make a wish at the sight of a shooting star. But what is there left to wish for, when one feels herself to be in a time and state of perfection?

I gaze upon the stellar form of the Queen of Ethiopia sitting in her heavenly chair; I try--and fail--to locate the piscine shapes taken by Eros and Aphrodite. No matter, I know they're there anyway. My hand rises momentarily from the shelter of the ocean, a finger extending to trace an imaginary line--playing connect-the-dots--to link Ursae Major and Minor. But are they bears or dippers? I whisper the words into the night, testing them, and decide that labels don't matter. Surely the existence of the heavenly bears--or dippers--does not depend on what a girl floating on her back in the night in an ocean on a speck in the universe decides to call them.

Starlight. Constellations. Stars. Strange--and inexplicably sad somehow--to think that so many of the sources of such beauty and brilliance no longer exist.

25 comments:

Kiyotoe said...

wow lovely, that was really nice. I'm all ready to go to the beach and just let my body and mind float away with the tides as I gaze up at the heavenly bodies above.

Oops, no beaches in Atlanta. This sucks. ;)

Lizza said...

Head to the nearest beach then. And take the Counselor with you for some skinny dipping. ;-)

Matt-Man said...

Well-written Lizza. And by the way,

"with only the slightest of undulations that bob me gently up and down as I float on my back, arms stretched out, hair fanning the area around my head..."

I wasnt thinking about the beach when you wrote that part. Cheers!!

Lizza said...

Hahahahaaaa, Matt! You dirty scoundrel, you. Besides, I don't think you know the meaning of the word gently when it comes to that. Cheers!

houseband00 said...

Hi Liz,

I agree with Matt - Freudian slip, anyone? =)

You ha. =)

Wow, nothing beats a cloudless night on the beach, right? All those stars above and the vomit below.

Lizza said...

Why the presence of vomit, HB? My mental refuge is perfect, that's why it's a refuge. No detritus there. :-)

Sidney said...

Nicely written!

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.
-Henry Miller-

gem said...

Lovely post. Summer in your mind. I never thought express it in those words before. How clever! How perfect! Wait until you reach midlife, Lizza. Summers in your mind aren't enough anymore and you want a true taste of that summer (and everything summer means).

thethinker said...

Beautiful descriptions. I want to be at a beach right now.

Debo Blue said...

Lovely writing, Lizza. I'm not a beach-goer but I know how it feels to be in a lovely, secluded hotel/spa pool just floating away from time and space.

Odat said...

Wow..I was right there with you!
Peace

Turnbaby said...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Thank you Lizza--I so needed that moment of serenity.

The writing as usual is so fine--I was calmly floating on my back in the ocean and I can't really swim.

Smooch

H said...

Well with 7107 islands, I can imagine that you wouldn’t care which one!

But wow. Felt like I was there. In the sea. Floating in water that’s just a degree cooler than my skin ready to float into the belly of Truth. At the brink of knowing and not knowing everything that is and isn’t.

You’re so right. Words have no meaning in silences like these. Words, labels, names.

Very very evocative. And soothing. Would really like to read more of your water stories Lizza. Have you realised that your most evocative writing – the pieces that have that ethereal quality about them, almost as if they’re frozen in a magical endless pause – are all about water. Especially the sea. Now that’s a truly special leitmotif in your writing career.

Steven Novak said...

Wow...look at you! You wrote the hell outta that!

I'm impressed.

Steve~

Natalie said...

There is something abou being surounded by water or losing yourself in the sky that makes one feel so small and yet so cared for. The vastness is strangely comforting.

Sony said...

Wonderful words, as per usual. Combining the beach with the stars...magnificent imagery to get me through the end of this work week.

I love the last thought---a simple reminder of how eternal something may seem, but how fleeting it is.

My other favorite phrase from today's post... On the Cusp of Forever.

Thanks for a great post!

Em said...

What a beautiful scene you painted with your words. I want to be there right NOW! As I sit and look at my window and the falling snow and the 8 inches or so of new snow on the ground, the warm sand and the water seem so appealing.

Sanni said...

Aaaaaaaah - that´s exactly what I needed right now... A well-written brain cinema =)

Thank you, Liz!

Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

Lizza-
Your writing is amazing. Terrific post. My only problem is you are talking about summer and in New England we are having a blizzard. It has been over 60 all week and now this.

Thanks for listening.

B.

Diesel said...

But think about all the new stars that you won't be able to see for a million years!

Irene said...

We're off to the island of Cebu tomorrow. I can't wait to be completely and blissfully engulfed by the same floating thoughts in less than 24 hours. Wooohoo! :p

Lizza said...

Sidney: Lovely quote. Thanks!

Gale: Thank you very much. And thanks for the advice.

Thinker: And I want to go to NOLA. :-)

Debo Blue: Thanks. You're right, a pool would do just as well.

Odat: Glad you were there. :-) Thanks!

Turnbaby: That makes two of us! :-) Thanks, sugar.

H: Thank you! You never fail to make me feel so appreciated.

Hmmm... you're right, though. Water does creep into my writings. One day I'll segue into something completely different. Chocolate isn't a bad leitmotif, is it?

Steve: Hey, thanks. I truly, sincerely appreciate that. :-)

Natalie: Exactly. You feel alone and yet not alone.

Sony: I'm glad this helped make your workweek more pleasant. And thanks. But your writing has given me lots of captivating imagery, too.

Em: Thank you very much! I think snow is lovely, but maybe you guys have had too much of it already. I hope your weather improves soon.

Sanni: A short movie. Thank you, my dear. Have a great weekend!

Bud: Thank you very much! A blizzard after the nice weather? Gah. I hope it's better next week.

Diesel: You're right. Just because we don't see them doesn't mean they don't exist. Great thought! Thanks. :-)

Irene: That's good news. Eat some lechon for me ha? :-) Have a great time!

Maryanne Moll said...

I looove summer. Your post made me want to go back to Dumaguete! :)

Lizza said...

I've never been to Dumaguete. :-( Are the beaches quiet there? No jellyfish? That's important to me. How can I float in peace if a jellyfish stings my ass? :-)

The beaches down south seem to be better than the ones up north, don't they? Just seems that way, I'm not saying it's true.

Anonymous said...

beaches here are so nice. heres my email
anime_loverboy17@yahoo.com
im a male 23 yrs old