BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 14, 2010 (a page from my Moleskine)

It is a few hours before the clock strikes 12. The gongs are banging, roaring like wild lions.

The lights -- red, blue, orange and hazy yellow -- are blazing nonstop. The piercing smell of incense wafts in the air.

Dragons are dancing and endless chants are reverberating throughout the night, igniting these winged spirits.

This is a feast for the senses. Every trickle of blood that runs in my veins is thumping faster. My eyes -- like those of a little girl delighted by the sight of bright red balloons and purple lollipops -- are seeing a kaleidoscope of colors.

The Chinese Gods are calling my name, wishing me a good year ahead. I hear them for the first time. I hear them vividly.

Majorettes in olive green miniskirts are dancing to the blaring sound of drums and other percussion instruments. Pink and blue flags are waving, almost up and about the evening sky.

Firecrackers are lit to ward off two-faced snake charmers in black turbans. The thunderous cracking drowns the nightmares that haunted me the past year.

My dreams are now within arms' length. I see these in images out of the smoke emanating from the incense-filled temple.

It is a moment of infinity. It is a moment of lucidity. It is a concession to the harsh reality.

Ah, I can hold eternity in my palm. Right here. Right now.

(Needless to say, thank you for bringing me here on my birthday).