It was in the Nevada sierras three nights ago that I first saw again the full moon in this season that welcomes the coming of fall. I was speed driving to the meeting up of writers in Las Vegas and there, lo and behold, there was the full moon coming from the mountain tops, round and bright, and no stars for company, but all alone in her glory, this Apo Bulan of old, one beautiful norturnal goddess of our farming people in the Ilocos.
Soon summer will be gone and fall will begin and our lives will have to adjust to the demands of the new season, with the whip of the cold wind, the drying of the land, the death of plants and their bloom.
But this full moon that tonight lights my dark mind is all there, smiling and promising so many things, talking to me in muted silence, whispering the sweet-nothings of lovers fired up with the very fire of love for that which is not tentative but for that which lasts and lasts a lifetime or beyond it.
I look out the window at this hour, almost midnight, in this night in Torrance, in the very room that saw my coming here in this land and staying put, for good, or so I hope, in order to find here the fulfillment of a promise I made to myself: that here, here in this land that I have come to from the land that I came from, here, here, is the semblance of home where I can discover the power of words, the divine magic of language, the enchanting temptations of metaphors and their possibilities.
I scan the universe above me, imagining where the angels are at this time while not so faraway near the Harbor UCLA Hospital a siren breaks the silence of this quiet neighborhood of mixed migrants from all over: the Hispanics with their blaring car stereos announcing some tango and la bamba dancing, the Pinoys with their preference to be left alone, and the other Asians with their somber faces perhaps remembering the past that does not go away. There is not much laughter here in this place but there is life germinating for all those who want to start a life here with seriousness.
I look at the clock and it is seconds before the midnight chime strikes to remind me of the need to sleep the sleep of the just. I write this in a hurry, believing that I am a just man with a just way of looking at the full moon even in this night that Torrance does not sleep with the dream of the just men and women in her bosom.
Even as I hurry to write this, I think of our literary dreams as Ilokano migrants, this sense of hope for better things to come, this idea that we can still preserve, perpetuate, and produce Ilokano language and culture even from afar, even in this land and all the lands where we are, even where our dreams for ourselves intertwine with our dreams of and for the kailianand the pagilian.
There is this spirit and energy that has been moving many, these migrant minds who know how to take the lead in accepting that migrancy is only a state of the mind and it is up for us all to totally eradicate our sense of roots and rootedness or to accept the challenge of re-discovering the road to home, that home that we came from, that home that at one point in our lives, is the home that we are.
In this full moon at midnight in this migrant's mind, I think of all these thoughts and the inspiration that holds us, the inspiration to see a land for a people who have found happiness and contentment, the land beyond the ili, the land beyond the pagilian, the land in the spaces of our minds, we migrants as well as those who were left behind to toil the land of our ancestors and there to find the sense of life, the fullness of being, the transcendence that defines who we are.
I look at the moon again and I see a collective here, the collective forming a unified spirit, unified not because they speak with one voice but speak they do with many, plural, and interesting voices, but voices nonetheless agreeing to agree on one thing: to search for that redeeming route to the home in the heart of the Ilokano migrant and the Ilokano immigrant of and in other lands.
I see Joe Padre, for instance. Or Ana Marcelo, the Tabins, Tito Tugade, Amado Yoro, Francis Ponce, Pacita Saludes, the TMI and Gumil people everywhere, this TMI that is us as well, and this Gumil that is us as well.
I see the academics at the University of Hawai`i. I see the Ilokano scholars and writers and culture advocates everywhere, like Elinor Alupay.
I see the expansion of an Ilokano program in many universities all over the United States of America, and through it we recognize that the language of the Filipino diaspora, historically and as a matter of fact, still the language of the present diaspora, is Ilokano, with all its accents, with all its quirks, with its unique way of wording the world of pinakbet and jumping salad and dalidallot and the joys and sorrows of our people.
The full moon smiles. There is promise here. And the morning is bright.
A Solver Agcaoili