June 9, 2007

Starry, Starry Night

I am used to brownouts. Where I blog from, brownouts, blackouts and typhoons go together. In May last year, when everybody else was stewing in the summer heat, a strong typhoon mowed down my beloved aratiles tree. It also plowed just about every power line, leaving us powerless for something like a week. It was nothing, of course, compared to the 29-day blackout brought about by Milenyo in September, followed by the three-week post-Reming blackout from November to December.

So when the lights went out tonight at 8 p.m., I dismissed it as just one of those minor irritations. Never mind that the neighborhood echoed with a collective "awwww." When you really come down to it, Maria Floredeluna is even more irritating, anyway.

What to do then? Stepping out was the best option, if only to beat the oppressive June heat. And when I did, it was just beautiful. As if God and the power company conspired to put on one magnificent show.

The sky was a diamond-studded black, lit up once in a while by streaks of summer lightning. Everywhere I looked there was something twinkling. The lights inside may have been put out, but the lights outside, up there, were just magical.

Last year, in the long days and nights of literal "powerlessness," we had to think up ways to entertain ourselves. Complaining would not get us anywhere; it would only mean hot tempers and hotter nights. So we rediscovered the magic of full moons and starry skies, of neighborliness and friendly stories, of childhood games played on the street. We bedded down at 8, woke up at 4, and realized that life does go on, with or without electricity.

Starry, starry nights are the stuff of poetry, of paintings, of inspiration. Of getting in touch with some primal, long-forgotten self in each one of us. A friend once told me that she had forgotten how beautiful the night was--until the lights went out and she whiled away the time out on the roof.

Gazing out at the great starry void, I am transported to the beach, waves caressing my feet. It may be sweltering inside, but I am cool...

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