I was standing on top of Chamantad Tinyan viewpoint when I remembered the Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli animated film The Wind Rises, because of the strong winds that ran every which way, almost frivolous, certainly playful: an unsteady foot on the uneven hillsides could cause a tumble or two.
The wind is rising!…We must try to live!
Le vent se lève! . . . il faut tenter de vivre! – Paul Valéry
These lines came back to me on that windy hilltop while I waited for the rest of our party to come back, looking over the crashing waves just a few feet before me. Mortality, impermanence, transience. The wind is rising, the world is changing; and all logic says that we must change with it, to move on, to live.
But let me stand on this hilltop, frozen in this moment, for just a while longer: a hill which my poor knees would rather I slide down than walk down.
Momentarily stranded: a few minutes out, my parents waited on a much tamer hill; a few shorter minutes closer, our guide and the rest of my Instagram-happy tour mates would be wrapping up soon. Even closer, intermittently, a few more fellow tourists: a boy possibly two thirds my age, strides boldly to the cliff edge, selfie stick in tow: he sits down with slippered feet dangling over the edge, takes a shot or three, and checks his result. I watch and don’t watch. He stands up and strides back out, and he disappears from my not-watching view. The wind carries my companions’ voices to me.
I take a breath and keep watching the waves.
There is something so timeless about Batanes that makes writing about it difficult for me. What could I say, when our days were so free and easy even with a settled itinerary listed out for us? It seems useless to talk about where we went and at what time and how much time we spent, when Batanes could change your plans on a whim. The seas may get choppy, the air so sweet that it lulls you into staying longer, longer, longer. Rest a while. Stay in the moment. Live in the moment.
In a place where the wind seems ever-rising, it called me back to simpler times where values were steadfast and the hustle and bustle of progress is a distant hum. We must try to live–and these people haven’t lost sight of what it meant to truly live.
Dios mamajes, Batanes!
Previously posted at Retracing Steps – The wind is rising! We must try to live. – a Batanes retrospective.