An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

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Location: Philippines

Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

11 March 2006

After intensity

Something strange happens when intensity enters a life. First there is a freezing of time, and then comes the implosion. But the strange thing is not these, but that the intensity lasts only for a moment, and yet for an eternity after that, nothing is ever quite the same. Everything else is effect, a luminous progress, a conscious and enlightened departing from that point onwards, an expansion.

It is not so much an experience as a subsuming, or a kind of burning. An entire universe could rise after it, but the great, unfathomable magic and life of that universe is nothing compared to the power of the big bang that came before it. Like reading a captivating novel, for instance, and then closing the book at the end and seeing the rest of the world differently from then on. Or writing a story that gets to the very core of the author's own heart and after the very last period life seems like an ocean of secrets. Or finding love – passionate, sudden, inconvenient, terrifying, monumental, consuming love – and then losing the momentum, and then having it dissipate. And in order to cope with a universe of knowing that’s increasingly spreading itself out after the moment of highest intensity, one just streamlines one’s life, limiting one’s priorities to the sparest and most significant of lists.

And after a while, it grows on one. It gets under the skin and becomes blood. It occupies the body, flows through the veins, throbs regularly, and gives life. The fire of the subsuming might have died down to an ember but the glow is still there. Eternal. Resolute. Singular. Numinous.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night I wake up and I could feel something passing through me. When I am driving I sometimes hear a voice whispering something in too low a voice to be audible, but the timbre of that voice, that distinct and unique pattern of breathing between certain syllables, sounds vaguely familiar. And then sometimes in the midst of a flurry at work, there comes a few seconds of pure silence, and I pause, and then I catch a glimpse of someone, a fleeting image, a vague face, or a silhouette in the distance.

These are what's left -- the memory of words said, of promises given, black holes of possibilities not turned to flesh, a genealogy of desire that goes beyond a hundred years. The universe is slowly spreading out, flattening itself, creating distance between constellations and galaxies. There is supposed to be a logic there, an explanation for the movement, the growing, the expansion. But how to account for the fire that burns all throughout reality, slowly eating at its edges? In time, there will be only space and light remaining, a smooth and even fire, perfect, reliable, age-old effect of the intensity that started it all. It is the intensity after the intensity, different but no less intense, and it lasts.


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