September 28, 2006

Flying Through Cliffs

The cherubim ahead of me looked back and screamed towards my direction, urging me to speed up as the winged creature was fast catching up with us. I had burst into the branches of woods in the night forest and I had to cover my face with my arms in order to clear my view, otherwise the branches of the trees would harm my eyes and the feint illumination offered by the moon would not allow me to navigate properly through the dark woodlands, and especially if a winged creature that was blacker than the night was coming at us with full speed.

The night creature was an old woman with wired and mangled gray hair and eyes that was redder than blood. I kept looking into those fiery eyes every time I look behind me, checking out if the creature was already nearing or still farther away, and fear had never been so evident in me. The night creature had wings that were velvety, like they were made of black satin or a kind of a soft garment that are often used for curtains. I thought that perhaps those creatures knew how to sew and made their wings by themselves. I never knew exactly.

When I was a child, I had so many dreams where I was flying with cherubim or child angels. They never spoke to me in spoken words but somehow I could here them speak to me through their eyes, as if they had the power of mental telepathy. They just stared at me all throughout and I were just amazed at how beautiful and handsome they looked. The reason perhaps why I did not initiate conversation with them was mainly because of their foreign appearance. They had rounded faces and wavy blond hairs just like American babies that I saw in television back then. I reckoned that maybe they spoke in a different tongue. They were too young but their gazes seem to pronounce to me a much older and mature mind.

There was that cliff that I kept falling from every time I reach its vicinity, as I arrive at it with bursting speed right out the thick greeneries, and suddenly finding out that below me was a very steep cavity and although I was sort of flying through the air, the sudden change in height always threw me into deep confusion that my fluttering through the air became distraught and discordant. So my glide was often disturbed and my wings wouldn’t work so well that I start falling and I couldn’t stave my fall that I begin to scream so loud while my fall would accelerate. And there I was falling from a steep cliff and I remember that feeling of falling so well even towards this day, that whenever I ride the Ferris’ Wheel in older days, that familiar feeling come speeding back to me like a mirage. In those dreams of falling from cliffs, always I would wake up before I touched the ground but whenever I woke up, I find myself falling from my bed instead that my scream would be heard throughout the household. My grandfather would be awakened by my scream and he would make me drink cool tap water each time.

So in one of those flying dreams, we were again being chased furiously by the winged serpents of the night, and again I was there huffing and puffing through the woods trying to evade those night creatures, and I was scared like hell as usual. But the other cherubim were surer about themselves that they never fell and flew like they were masters of flight and in fact, they were just being playful and seemed to be toying around with the winged creatures, as if knowing that those hideous creatures won’t be catching up with us in any way. But I was so unsure about myself, and I feared the flying serpents like no other that my eyes were so wide-eyed with fright.

In order to lose our pursuers, we would thread into the thick forest and caverns at the side of the mountains and that night, we did the same routine until we finally lose them. There was great relief among our group as we proceeded to glide into the wide-open air and beneath us were great spread of grasslands with some assemblages of trees here and there, like oasis in a broad desert land. We decided to descend into a particular cluster of trees and there we settled on the branches. It was dark but the moon was so illuminating that there was some sort of daytime in the night. I could exactly remember how the branches of the trees would move and bounce as we drifted from one place to another, trying our darnest not to cause any noise as the cherubim which I always conversed with signaled to us to keep silent by putting his forefinger across his tight lips. I immediately wondered why we had to remain still and silent although I reckoned then that it was perhaps for us not to be detected again by our night pursuers. But I was to learn later on that the order to remain silent at that particular juncture in our night venture was mainly because of a group of men and women that was forming a circle around a campfire just nearby, about 20 meters away from us. The trees we hanged on were fairly tall that we could see all of the activities below with the widest of view and there I saw those people chanting some unknown prayers with their hands clasp and turgid. I saw the woman that had been one of our pursuers among the circle below and at that time, she had no wings on her back and was upright just like any human being. She was a shape-shifter I had reckoned then, a human being that could transform itself into a winged serpent when the night comes. I felt some fright again upon seeing the face of the woman who was always pursuing me, like I was her favorite prey. I felt leaving immediately but I could not just disregard the earlier instruction to stay silent. So I stayed and observed the proceedings below and the fire in the middle of the circle was blazing so thoroughly that it was reflected on our faces, while we clung to the branches with bated breath. I thought for a moment there that a male member of the circle had noticed us that he turned his gaze slowly towards our direction. I saw the eyes of the male person and they were so black all over like it has no white in them but all pupils and he looked like a dead person to me with his face pale as talcum powder.

All of a sudden, we heard the ruffling of the leaves just behind our position and we turned abruptly to see what had caused the noise. To our utter dismay and fright, it turned out that some of the winged serpents had found us again and we had to scurry in a jiffy and up we were trying to evade our usual pursuers again. Of course, we had been able to dodge them again by trying to confuse them into trees and caverns---the usual method we apply. Those winged creatures seem to have a weakness when flying into trees and dark crevices of the mountains, as if their guide system is all too flawed and far less superior than ours that it takes them so long to get out of those nooks and caverns.

And I will end this note about flying and falling from cliffs upon a certain dream where me and the other cherubim were slowly approaching the earth from a higher region of the sky, like from the clouds. As the ground became nearer, we softly and gradually descended towards a particular tree. It was nighttime and below us was a carnival that was set up so sparingly in the middle of a barriotic neighborhood. There was only one contraption in the middle of the carnival, or “carnaval” in Filipino common language, and that was a very high Ferris’ Wheel and nothing much else except for tables were men and women trooped into for some joint activity, like gambling perhaps on a dice game. There were a lot of people mingling about, as what would be expected of such event and they were walking about around the main ride while some other played card games and gambling on the wayside. It was sort of a busy scene and I saw a man in short pants carrying a child and some dogs loitering around. Just across the site of the “carnaval” was a busy and well-lighted sari-sari store where a group of men where around a wooden table, seemingly on a drinking binge. Some children where gazing and dawdling around the Ferris’ Wheel, gawking at the giant steel structure as if it was their first time to have witnessed such contraption. Around the “carnaval” where wooden houses of various sizes and style, the kind of shelters one see in a typical Filipino slum, where a few houses tower in height while others were smaller in comparison but more in number.

As I stared meaningfully towards the somewhat animated scene below, I had wondered to myself what place that was and why we came to it with evident purpose. One angel said to me: “ This is the place where you are going to.”

I didn’t responded to the declaration of the angel as if accepting it like a non-negotiable fact of life. But in my mind, I had wanted to ask why I was destined for that place and wondered to myself if there were any other places where I could choose. Like I knew that it wasn’t my call at all, I just shut up.

Tuba