“Be thine own palace, or the world’s thy jail.” — John Donne

BINASBASAN sa kung saan-saang panig, singit at sulok ang kanilang pamamahay—all-out house blessing talaga…. babaylan ang apong Musa na lapis, crayola at kahit anong panulat ang panghasik-lapat ng basbas…  there’s serene kinesthetic thrill touched off in such scrawling spree, fingers plied out to bring earthly bliss…

Natutunan na kasi ng apo ang Kubera mudra—ang sagradong anyo na ibubukadkad ng mga daliri’t kamay sa paghawak ng panulat… a blessing to amass worldly wealth, to make wishes come through and true… ands-on writing brings such wonders, so resonant of the archetypal Chinese folktale about a brush-wielder whose picture writings magically come to life…

Hindi na isinama ang sangkatutak na mudra (Sanskrit for “bring out bliss”), the cutting hands of kujikiri ninjutsu at samut-saring igkas ng kamay mula sa mga sining ng tagisan… pero umabot sa may 80 ang bilang ng galaw sa kamay na inisa-isa sa isinulat noon… hands-on attempts to know the physical limits of reality… “the hand is the cutting edge of the mind, the world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation.”

Suwerte mo, ‘dre, kasama ka sa iilan na pinagbigyan sa pakikipagkrus ng kamay… and even at such awkward level of 80 hand moves, lagi’t laging kakaldag—hindi masasalag— sa kung saan-saang bahagi ng iyong katawan ang mga umiigkas na basbas-kamay… uh-duh, there are holy blessings and deadly benedictions that can be done by hand. Comes handy in close-quarters engagements.

Wielding a writing implement any which way she can was a new fount of joy for my grandchild… mind-boggler of a discovery there, here’s a wee tool—pencil, crayola, pentel pen, redacting pen, sign pen, what have you– that extends the reaches of her body/mind.

So you have a Sweeney Todd (played by Johnny Depp) exulting in triumph as he flicks out and stretches an arm grasping an ornate pearl-handled flat razor: “I am now complete.”

And I’ve got me a grandchild rocked by gales of glee as she swings out an arm, hand in awkward grasp at a crayon:


She’s begun laying cornerstones and pillars to her palace, as the poet John Donne would have it imagined… she’d be free… hirit nga ng kumpareng Jerusalino Araos, “prison is a state of mind, freedom is (a fastness) of the heart.”

Extensions… extensions… Buildings have ells, additional wings that won’t fly anywhere but would be added to accommodate a few more stuff, some more activities…

In thoroughfares, ells are fitted out… overhead or elevated rails to accommodate some more sarabands of passengers and wayfarers… another extension of a route’s carrying capacity for people… Ells here there and everywhere… head-over-heels rails… eh ba’t kulong at kulang pa rin… sa libog ng diwa?

I’ve asked a lawyer friend who’s seeing a client in Okinawa to bring me a pair of sai—threshing tool for freshly harvested rice stalks… a request for another extension…

Karl Wilson of Tasmania had this parting shot as he gave me tree surgery saws, machete for capoeira practice, and pruning shears: “I know they’ll be in good hands.” Dong delos Reyes

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