Sunday, February 13, 2005

My Manila Sky

I have always been in love with the Manila skies. All this despite the fact that most of the time all the smog and the smoke manage to blot out all those constellations I love but have yet to learn to name. On rare clear nights, I used to find myself pausing in the middle of my short walk home, compelled to stand still like a fool in the middle of the darkened parking lot with my books and my bags hanging off me, as I tried to find the few star patterns I've already learned to recognize.

A friend recently reminded me of this forgotten love, one of the few I managed to carry over despite having been thrust into the urban drabness that is the heart of Manila. She was sure that in my current funk I'd stopped looking for those clear night skies I used to long for so much. And she was right, I had forgotten. These days, getting home from the hospital to recharge my emotionally and physically depleted batteries has become such a single-minded goal that I don't even bother to look up anymore. Who has the time or the energy to stand in the parking lot, with the blinking red and blue lights of Rustan's and GoNuts Donuts irritating your eyes, to look for a clear sky that is very rarely there?

Last night, though, I was blessed with a wonderfully clear night, the first I've noticed in a long time. And, just like an old friend, there was the hunter Orion, one of the few constellations I know by sight, smiling down at me. So, like a fool, I stood there in the middle of the parking lot, my face lit up in a smile and heart lit up with a joy that I have not felt in a while. I cannot imagine how I could have forgotten how much joy I used to find in these Manila skies I used to love so much.

Perhaps that's really what has been missing in my life lately. I've allowed the worries and the pressures of my work to eat into those little joys that used to make my life worthwhile - and now I feel that there's something wrong with my work, rather than there being something wrong with me inherently. Perhaps it's a combination of both. A long time ago, when I was just about to start medical school, a wise friend of mine (who quit medicine to write her poetry) advised me never to lose myself so far into the books and the science and the demands of school to forget those little things that have always given me joy.

Maybe tonight it's going to be another clear night. I'm on my way out - studying be damned. Orion is waiting.

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