Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Song of the Wanderer

I'm still depressed. Despite my resolve to get out of the dumps and build a refreshed outlook on the world out there, I am still in the gloom. My shoulders feel heavy and I look terrible, disheveled, unkempt. I move around dazed even if I spent the rest of the night sleeping. I barely manage to get through the day. In an attempt to organize my life, I made a checklist of things-to-do this morning and I painstakingly attempted to accomplish all of them. I still smile, make small talk, do my regular chief resident duties. I can still successfully dodge the urge to lose my temper on the most petty of concerns. In general, I think I'm still all right. I hope I'm still all right.

Yesterday, I went to my psychiatrist friend. I asked for a remedy for big-time post-travel depression. She told me there's no such clinical entity. It's just adjustment disorder. All I need is reassurance. No medications needed. Like a viral infection, it will spontaneously resolve. I hope she's right. After all, I'm just in Day 3. Things will get better soon.

Still deep into my illness, I did the unthinkable this morning: I left the hospital in the middle of a hectic day. Despite the mountains of paperwork to finish, I got out of the PGH compound and took a walk around Padre Faura and its neighboring streets.

Being a doctor who's guilty of self-medication, I got the best remedy for a crash-phase addict: another fix, or whatever is closest to it. I went to the nearest SEA Air office and got my roundtrip ticket to my ultimate destination: Basco. Sigh... Two months to go and I'll be flying again. And not only that, it's going to be another heaped-up, double-serving of my greatest addictions. Hehe. At least I have something to look forward to. Hmmm, I can almost breathe the Batanes breeze. Another set of moments to savor.

On my way back to the hospital, I was lured by this cozy bookstore in Padre Faura, La Solidaridad. I reminded myself to secure an adequate stash of books for my 18-day Ivatan sojourn so I ventured in. I got interested in a book by F. Sionil Jose (perhaps because of the title). It's called "Viajero". Hmmm, viajero. Wanderer. Drifter. That's me.

The opening poem caught my attention. It is something by Dr. Jose Rizal, translated by the great Nick Joaquin. Here goes...

Song of the Wanderer

Dry leaf flies at random
till it's seized by a wind from above:
so lives on earth the wanderer,
without north, without soul, without country or love!

Anxious, he seeks joy everywhere
and joy eludes him and flees,
a vain shadow that mocks his yearning
and for which he sails the seas.

Impelled by a hand invisible,
he shall wander from place to place;
memories shall keep him company -
of loved ones, of happier days.

A tomb perhaps in the desert,
a sweet refuge, he shall discover,
by his country and the world forgotten...
Rest quiet: the torment is over.

And they envy the hapless wanderer
as across the earth he persists!
Ah, they know not of the emptiness
in his soul, where no love exists.

I was never a Jose Rizal fan. Today, I am.

Waaahh!! I need a lobotomy!


rayms said...

hmmm... batanes! may lalake ba doon mother? =), baka puro ivatan lang ang nandun!!!

keri mo yan mother, kaw pa. INUMAN NA ULIT!!!

Walking on Water said...


nyay! who needs a man when in batanes? hehe. but wish me luck. i'll try to muster enough strength and pick someone up in ivatan land.

kelangan mo yata akong turuan how to work up my charms. hehehe...
miss you mother!