Springtime in Strange Places

Spring always hits me hard.

My heart is heavy the riot of colors remind me of the bundle of contradictions exiles go through. Perhaps the unbearable heaviness is harder for me as I witness the full blooming of the surroundings while I think thoughts of home, the home I remember, the home I miss--the home and homeland mixing up and oneing in my mind.

Today, I decided to pass through the long route to the University for this Sunday work on readings and more readings and research and more research in my office. I have one purpose: to enjoy the view from the elevated airport highway, the April showers with their yellows so proudly jutting out of the edges of the highway and reaching out to the sunny and cloudless skies of Honolulu. It has been a while that I did not take this long route to the University, avoiding the jam on the approach to Likelike and the winding road moving south, past airplanes and tarmacs and cement and the heat. The Red Hill on an alternative route is far better with its trees and shrubs and flowers and country loneliness.

Sundays I got to work. I like the University better when I can claim it is all mine on a Sunday like this, when students are not expected to call even if sometimes some do, knowing my secret that Sundays I come to write, to read, and to post blogs that sometimes I struggle to write.

I like the illusion that Sundays are all mine even if sometimes this statement is not true. The illusion has something to do with the contract--all in the mind anyway--that University teachers are to teach from Monday to Friday. But when you run a heritage language and culture program like I do, forget that illusion. Weekends could not have their Saturday and Sunday names many times, as these are extensions of weekday work.

But the Sundays that no one bothers me, I come to think, pray, read, write.

The solitude is what moves me--I have time in my hands, space in my hands, aloneness all of my own, presumably, with no interruptions.

Well, some friends know that I come to the University to work and they do call as well, making me a 24/7 worker, a 7/31 laborer, and a 12/365 public servant for this new land that has somehow welcomed me as its own.

When things like this happen, I feel like a newly arrived immigrant from England, from Ireland, from Scotland, from all white places of the while settlers trying to tame the wild in these parts. We are kindred spirits now, I tell myself, and I tell that in honor of their memory.

I think of the first settlers of Jamestown in Virginia, they who came from from England in search of materials goods, wealth, and the good life. Oh, these ideas of migration is what drives us exiles and immigrants to seek the ways to pursue these ideas. Knowing the settlers of Jamestown from my trip to that settlement last year and the feature article on Time, I feel the contours of the challenges that settlers went through, with a drought that lasted for a long time, and with the James River providing drinking water, dysentery, death. I walked Jamestown's firefly lit colonial center, the place where the settlers first anchored, the historical marker telling us exactly of the frozen time. Human history, indeed, is eternal, as time is.

But back to this Sunday's morning ceremony.

I took the long road with its tradeoff: the yellow of the April showers that line the stretch of the airport highway.

The flowers are fiery and feisty even in the midmorning sun, with only a whiff of fresh air from the sea to my right and from the mountains on my left. You pull down the visor to block the rays and to protect you from the pearly rays that hit the cement as you gas up a bit to let you the wind be on your face. You take in all the air, fresh in this morning hours, and you remember the fresh air of the Pagudpud see, the fresh air of Davila in Pasuquin where you did your ethnolinguistic fieldwork a long time ago, and the fresh air of the Padsan River in Laoag where the mountains in the east were not yet raped by loggers and rapacious leaders who only knew how to count the commission money for looking the other way around when ancient trees go the way of lumbers and board feets and sala sets, this last one a tropy for the rich and the nouveau rich.

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