Hours of a dawn

There is something which feels both infinite and momentary in the hours of a dawn. It is as if the entire world has been put on a temporary freeze except you; especially at a season like this when everything seems to be slowly sliding into the wintry clearness until it gains unstoppable, ever-increasing momentum and splashes into the mirror-like nightsky, you begin to see, think, and feel with this particular clarity that only dawn can bestow. Perhaps this is another realm of reality, you think to yourself, of which neither day nor night is aware. Even though a light smudge of drowsiness is there, a consciousness that palpitates like a bloody, still-beating heart in a surgeon’s hands is present too. The latter easily dwarfs the former because, after all, this is the time when certain things are wide awake– things that may or may not be of this world.

Hours of a dawn elicits in you an image of a glass bowl filled with ice cubes. The bowl is placed on a windowsill where sunlight streams in endlessly and makes the ice cubes shine like stars. When you shift slightly on side to side from where you are at, you see the ice glimmering this way and that, with circles and rings of light alternatingly turning on and off. You squint your eyes and look closely into the glass bowl to find pieces of fruits and flowers frozen inside the ice cubes. Oranges, pomegranates, melons, daisies, mint leaves, bananas. The frosty insides of these fruits and flowers would crunch and crumble, if you squeeze and crush them with your teeth. The ice would almost stretch under the pressure of your teeth, and you remember that feeling from the time when you tried slowly cracking an ice in your mouth and wondered whether things were really as they seemed to appear.

Moments in the hours of a dawn seem like the frozen freshness of fruits and flowers– so eternal, so alive. Memories come to you and they sing to you in the respectful, calm silence of the dawn. You begin to recall all the things you had muttered to your friend in the light of a campfire, the sound of laughters and clappings that accompanied the strums of a guitar, and even the clandestine sighs that were released from his mouth. Things suddenly seem so real and vivid that you cannot help but let a shudder runs through your spine. How wonderful it is to be alive and breathing, and yet how oblivious you have been! Someone once told you that the sound of the earth spinning is too loud that no one can hear it. Perhaps, you think to yourself, the actuality of life is so intense to the extent that no one truly realizes its magnitude– except in the hours of a dawn, when everything is quiet and there is not much distraction that can veer you off from looking straight into the life’s face.

Reaching out

To those who were, who are, and who will be in my life– reaching out to everyone who is alive and breathing at this moment:

A huge thank you to you all! Thank you for co-existing with me, particularly at this time period of history, and of all places, on this planet Earth. It truly gives me immense pleasure to conceive of all of you wonderful people alive and breathing with me, right now. It is such a gift to co-exist and I greatly appreciate your existence! :)

You told me, yet again,

that you thought about me every week, that I have influenced you more than either of us has ever thought, and that you have become a more optimistic and kind person because of me; that you missed me even though you had seen me only so much during the term; that you were grateful for our journey to Europe together– despite all the tensions, unspoken fights, and tiredness; that you will wait for me; that I was one of the most important people you’ve met in your college life; that you were so blessed to have a friend like me; that you thought I could appreciate something so beautiful that you yourself could not understand; that I was the first person that you thought of as a book asked you to think of two happiest people you know; that it was now your turn to buy a meal; that you secretly set me as someone who you wanted to resemble; that what I said made your day; and that I was the sweetest thing that you’ve ever known.

What can I say and what can I do but stand in awe with deepest humility and gratitude?

I. Spring

The consequential naivety of a girl was inevitably melted into the hymns of summer breezes. The singing voice of the wind was clearly there and yet remained undetectable in some ways; what may have passed as a mere wheeze transformed into a mosaic of melodies as I strained my ears ever so wholeheartedly– streaks of lyrics, shades of resonance all wove into each other to form an ever-twirling, silky ribbon that enveloped the entire place. There was so much laden behind the diaphanous fabrics of music, so much of what the braided breaths whispered. It was simply a marvel to listen between the lines and discover the subtleties: the dried-up traces of longings, sufferings, and loves. All the confusions accompanied by the uncontrollable sobs, the partial numbing of emotions, the returning of the senses, and at last the bittersweet reminiscing that flickered on and off like a starlight that is intermittently blurred and blocked by the turbulence in the air– I both dreaded and adored.

I stood still, under the shades of the tall trees. The rippling vibrations that clung to the edge of the shadows and the billowy sunlight were filtered through the leaves that by themselves seems to be shedding all the light. As giant whales of wind passed by, through, and onto the trees, the shaking leaves twinkled as they reflected the morning’s sunbeam, and everything was glittering. The air was filled with fairy dust and thus brimming with magic whose energy danced around everywhere, taking one step back, forward, and across.  All the movements were there, with all their details, in-between breaths, and finger-bent emotions. But the entire spectacle yielded something else– something of jumbled nostalgia, beauty, and exquisite sadness that it evoked in the heart chambers of the beholders. It was a naivete lightness of a girl who did not seem to quite grasp what she was going through but nonetheless was alright.

The scene donned countless shades of green and brown that intermingled and evaporated into each other to result in a myriad of colors that sat there like a bubble of ocean in the forest. I can never forget the dreamy quality of the air, the grainy background, and the invisible melody that was so existing, so there. A generously warm, well-lit spring weather can heal so much of a person, and it is rather sad that the panacea now wallows only in my memory, in the heaviness that is particular to things that are gone.

An excerpt of my life

Then the fall came. It brought the blazing red and orange leaves that burned all across the mountains and blinded me because they were too hot and I was too dry.  I was parched from the inside and so I burned. I burned myself in the mountains, in classrooms, in my bed. I tried to cool myself down by crying out tears and drinking lots of water as had been advised by the dean, but the sting of the salt never really went away. The salt burned red as did the leaves and the mountains and my mind was bleeding. The bricks of the dorms, the tomato in the foco salad bar, the black bean soup– things were red and I was hurt. Missing home was carmine and going to classes was scarlet-yellow. Talking, crimson. Eating, ruby. I felt like I had lost you entirely, you who used to be you and no other. You used to be wholly you to me and you were broken that fall. You weren’t you anymore.

Forgiveness is red because of the wound and the blood. But I assure you, healing is red too. When I went hiking last fall, the entire world was ablaze and I saw that the fire was always inside the mountain, inside the people, inside you and me. Everyone was part of the mountain and therefore part of the flame. That’s why when I saw the fire, I closed my eyes and thought of you, me, and everyone else as the auburn flame licked on my neck. I was sweating and crying and all the salt in my body was gushing out red. Inside the flames of the trees, I melted into the red myself and I was already healing. It was impossible for me not to forgive you because I knew you too well. I could not help but to understand why you did what you did; you had to do it because you were, as you said, a weak person. I knew from the bottom of my heart that you were a good person with bad habits who loved me so much that it killed you to be away from me. I knew too well that you could be so wonderful as to make me quite at awe. I still trusted that you were a good person. My trust for people had not been ruined at all, I said, because I knew you were good. I believed in the good and the weak.

It was around that time that I really began to see things around me; the bare branches of the trees, the glistening stars, the cold wind, the first sprinkles of snow. The white of the snow began to cover up the red, the orange, and the yellow. The carmines were intense but the white of the snow was even more intense and the winter made me wish that my blood were white. It made me pleasant to think that I bleed white out so that everywhere I go, I would white out the sadness, the tragedies, and the regrets. The trails of whiteness, just like those of snow, would result in a state of calmness, of nothingness in which people can freely wander and not get lost. And the white that I bleed out could be the world’s largest drawing paper onto which people can map themselves and find out who they are.

The winter at Dartmouth is astonishingly beautiful. The sparkling snow of Hanover is studded with spruce leaves, treetops, mountains, and sparsely populated human beings, all of which it puts under its spell. There was magic in the air and I breathed in floating diamonds every morning. The icy etchings of silver and white hanging from the roofs chimed in the crisp winter wind. There were acres of whiteness everywhere I looked and sometimes a cry of an owl from faraway would ripple into my room and tattoo my windows with ice crystals. The mountains that had previously burned seemed to have had all burnt out and turned into piles of pure, white ashes that neither had ambition nor greed. It simply sat there, gigantic and silent, and was devoid of any anger or hurtful feeling. I was letting go of things, things that were better left to have their own ways: After the mind-wrecking, hectic search for internships and jobs in the fall, I was not anxious about getting a job at all– I had successfully burned out all my desires, want for success, and selfishness to end up with a greater trust in life– and I was beginning to accept what had occurred with humility and truth. Before I came to States, I had prayed to You that I would experience what I needed to experience and if it be suffering and pain, then so be it. Amidst the serenity of the white, I realized that the purpose of life was not in the agony of difficulties but in the maturing, in becoming a more loveable person in Your eyes. I was ready to accept whatever that lay ahead because I knew You were always here with me and that even though at times I may feel lost I never actually would be. The winter was long and dark but also beautiful in its own ways, in its dark white ways, and so were sufferings warm and beautiful in their own ways. While spending the winter at Dartmouth, I found consolation, peace, and truth as the snow fell softly and healed the red ground.