Of Itineraries and possibilities

April 8, 2021

These days it's easy to get discouraged to look forward to anything. "You know you are okay, but there's that sadness that comes and goes. You wonder what you're living for," a friend recently shared. I feel it too. That sadness, fragile, like a scab constantly aching to be scratched and bled.

Sometimes I worry that by the time a vaccine becomes available to us, we won't be the same anymore - that gusto, that keenness for life outside these walls. Lia has gotten used to stagnation. She won't even bike or walk 300 meters with me. It's too hard, she says. She'd rather stay at home, facing a screen than a sunset, the wind, fleeting figures. She used to love those. What huge change a year in isolation does to these young minds.

Before the pandemic, one of my favorite pastimes is researching destinations and plotting itineraries. I crafted Word file upon Word file of itineraries from scratch: a two-week LuzViMin trip using only ferries and buses, a 30-day Southeast Asia trip ending in Thailand, one for Alabat-Mercedes, another for a Bukidnon-ARMM loop. I'd get lost in the flurry of possibilities.

Those itineraries symbolized dreams. They were a reason - a stark one against the everyday reality of working to survive. I created them even If I'm not sure they will happen, because I had every hope that they will, even if it's 10, 20 years down the road.

We are ants, and the pandemic; the broken things it exposed and made even more broken is a mammoth's foot bearing down on us. The will to draft itineraries escapes me.

This morning I saw this photo. We were at the summit of Mt. Bagang in Zambales with friends. At high noon, the sun revealed an infinite expanse of mountains and a smattering of trees jutting out of ash from the 1990 eruption. Our guide was teaching Lia about cattails, and she listened intently. 

"Mama, cattails!" she wailed, her eyes wide with awe. She was in that moment, happy and content. We all were. 

I realized I'm not ready to give that up yet. I want to remain open for the things Lia can only learn and feel outside. I want to be there when they unfold.

I clicked my mouse. A blank page shows. On it, I typed "Catanduanes".

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