What a fine day to be out. The sun is up, almost winking, teasing the earth that it’s been hiding from almost this entire winter.

This is the sky over Holland, blue, similar to the sky in Manila, blue, but not this type of blue. And the clouds, their bubbly waves, sun peeking through as if playing with the clouds — one moment it’s there, one moment it’s hiding — similar to the clouds over Manila, but not the same.

The trees are different because these are winter trees, we don’t have these in Manila, but they’re similar in a way, in a very odd way. And you see them from afar, they’re lined up, almost cut perfectly to stand the same height forming a straight line in the horizon, and standing tall and proud like military trees, only that they’re stripped off their leaves this time of the year.

And the fields, much like the fields in the provinces in my country, but sheep stroll on them instead of cows and carabaos, and they’re white, clothed right for winter in their thick wool.

The sun’s rays go frantic on the window of the train, shimmering, frolicking. You can stare straight at the sun, it’s not so cruel, appearing and hiding, playing with the clouds. It was just a mild type of sun, where you can stare at it, in fact you can see it round so clearly. And in your gaze, without flinching, without awareness of where you are or whether you are at all in the right train or going the right direction, just without blinking, you experience eternity.

This is eternity. When time seems to stop, you’re hypnotised, and you are not in control, dazed, almost trance-like. It’s the fact that you’re unaware of yourself, of what’s happening, that you feel like time does not exist. And when you snap out and become aware of your current situation, of your existence, of the fact you’re sitting in that train, then that moment of eternity vanishes.

And you wonder when this will happen again. When will the sun be this friendly again? I wish I could open the window so that the heat of the sun is more real on my skin making it glow more than the heart is already causing it to, and the wind will join in, blend in, only if it’s not 7 degrees outside. I would have opened the window, and marvelled at the purity of nature, and felt as if a child again in a bus in a warm sunny province in Manila, with windows wide open, my elbow almost out the window and enjoying the sun and the wind.

Someday soon, I will forget all these words. But when these words come together to give one meaning, one moment, that one moment I will remember.


Somewhere in Europe

*This is part of a 68-Day Travel Diary called Reflections of a Nearly Thirty. Read the full Reflections Series here.

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About hellopenville

Writing is my one true north. (The other is eating spaghetti. I make the best pastas in the whole world I swear!) I have been writing since age 10. I remember being in another school a lot because of Campus Journalism contests. I was a grade-school copyreader, headline-writer, and feature writer, who emerged to be a college editorial writer and eventually a TV news writer. However, I have always been an insecure artist. These constant condescending thoughts always stopped me from creating: “No one would read this.” “This has been written before and therefore no one would read this.” “This is not interesting enough and therefore no one would read this.” “This is not relevant, or factual, or trendy enough and therefore no one would read this.” But I learned to risk to write even if no one reads it, than not to have written anything at all. To resist writing is to resist truth itself, to betray that which comes freely to you when you do not allow it to be manifested through you. I didn’t think writing was serious work. But every time I thought about writing, it would make me nervous. It would rattle me and frighten me. I would shake the ground under me. Aren’t dreams like that too? Read more at penville.net.


Europe, Holland, Travel, Travel Reflections Series (3 months in Europe)


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