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A Time and Place and Feeling Past

CEBU, Philippines — The once little boy wipes the old vinyl with his hand. He is trying to once again catch the melodies and the soft voice that had warmed solitude before. He wants to recapture the heartwarming power contained there, and do it with his own hands.

It looks like a childish act, yes, only that this boy is not a child anymore. He has, in fact, been capturing hearts of audiences wherever he performs. For he has since grown to become a celebrity with his guitar.

He easily captures heart with his music. But he has not captured his own. He has already been captured before – by someone else’s music immortalized in a recording. It remains that way, even as he now makes better music than the one in that old vinyl.  

It’s inexplicable how one can get stuck somewhere in time, in an experience that can be symbolized only by things but cannot be totally replicated. And the longing person need not have grown to be a celebrity. He may become more learned and knowledgeable with other things, but not that very experience.

People’s attachment to certain things often springs from their significant experience with those things. The man’s hand that gently wipes across the surface of that old music recording will not catch something solid there. But the act can somehow bring back a semblance of that good old feeling – because as his palm feels the groves of the vinyl, the music he recalls of it begins to play faintly in his mind. 
And yet the slight, beautiful re-experience does not quench his longing, but instead adds to it. He eternally longs to feel that way, because it brings back an important sense innocence that he fears he is already losing away. The sight and touch of the old vinyl is his way to keep the music playing in his head – to always reassure himself that life is beautiful and is all worth the effort of living.

Every person, without exception, is trying to grasp something in the air. It’s anything, big or small, but always significant to him or her. The uncertainty of whether or not to be able to grasp ‘it’ all the more fires up one’s determination to try and keep trying.

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In this regard, people are no different from honeybees that dart from flower to flower in the hope of coming upon that tiny droplet of sweet. Sometimes they do, sometimes not. But they never give up trying, because that sweet thing is at the center of their very existence.

The old man who would never let go of an old pen or the old lady who clings to a nice old dress that she could no longer are trying to catch something that is still there but is not seen. People, young and old, are stubborn about keeping certain things, especially those things that make them smile. Those things are their connections to the moment when their hearts danced and their spirits frolicked.

Nostalgia, that longing to go back to something beautiful previously experienced, is an eternal spring of hope. It is somewhere to refresh in when one’s journey in life becomes hard and pointless. Or, even among those that are so lucky to never have a dim day, it’s some place to go for reassurance.

There is always a time when one even longs for something unknown. One feels an emotional void that he ‘knows’ was filled up sometime, somewhere before. And he longs to fill it up again.

For man was once all filled up for life – and as the life experience draws from his reserves, man begins to feel emptiness. And nostalgia eggs him to feel himself up again. (FREEMAN)

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