Because today is the feast of the dead.

Sometimes I argue with the Tao Te Ching. I really do. I hate how it says “don’t stand on tiptoe,” and “don’t rush ahead.” I struggle with accomplishing much without doing anything.  I want to peek. I want to turn the corner, breathless. Here’s one more thing, and another, another, sparkling and alive and doable.

Dusk, koi
Dusk, koi

Makati has been empty this long weekend, but we have been hard at work. I escape and take walks to clear my head. These walks, the past two days, have turned into dances.

I danced along Rufino. I twirled around lampposts and stop signs. I skipped up and down steps. I went inside Greenbelt Park for the first time in three years, found a short bridge, and koi leaping for insects, trailing orbits and arrows beneath the surface of the water. I listened to M83. A saxophone soared into the sky as it shaded from blue to peach to lavender to night.

On the way back to the office I noticed, as I always do, the parking lot adjacent to the overhead walkway. The connecting door, never open, was.

The parking lot was unlit. There were no cars. There were no guards. I took one step inside, then another, then another, then ran. In the middle, I turned. I raised my arms. I could feel my face opening into silent laughter.  I danced. I am not a dancer. I never learned. In high school, a friend took me aside and told me, kindly, that I had no rhythm, and should not be dancing. But in an empty parking lot, no one knows you can’t dance. I bent and smelled the gasoline that had dripped itself, car after car after car, into the concrete. I tiptoed on yellow painted numbers, spun from end to end until I staggered, leaned against pillars and played at pliés.

“If you want something to return to the source, you must first allow it to spread out.
If you want something to weaken, you must first allow it to become strong.
If you want something to be removed, you must first allow it to flourish.
If you want to possess something, you must first give it away.

This is called the subtle understanding of how things are meant to be.”

If you want to honor the dead, you must first feel alive.