Dot of Light

Being awake at three in the morning gives me that strange feeling of being in control, knowing that most of those around me are asleep, that I can do whatever I want whether it’s being productive or just staring at the dark horizon waiting for that occasional dot of mechanical light to appear. On and off.

On and off. Reminding me of that boat ride in 2010 on my way home from spending a day in Oriental Mindoro. The weather was rough. The boat, called RORO, rocked from side to side, its front would tilt so high as it would go against such big waves which would, at the next moment, let go of its weight and let it fall.

I was in the airconditioned area of the boat. Curtains would sway from side to side, cabinet doors would open and close.

I remember standing up from my seat to walk to the side exit. I wanted to see the waves.

I adjusted my rucksack, locking the hip belt and that thing across the chest. I had with me my own life vest inside the bag. I didn’t know, though, if it was enough to keep me afloat in such turbulent a sea.

I stood by the glass door, hanging on to its frames, and looked out. It was darkness. Only the waves near the boat were being illuminated by the light coming from the vessel.

As I looked out trying to figure out anything in the distance (I wanted to know if there was a nearby island that I could swim to should the boat sink) I saw one lonely dot of light. The light would disappear and reappear as the boat rocked from side to side, riding and fighting the waves.

I couldn’t figure, however, if the light was coming from a distant lighthouse, or from another boat that’s also trying to reach its destination safely.

I couldn’t move from the door. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to take my eyes off (the direction of) the light. I was afraid we would be lost at sea if I lost that light.

I hang on to that light as if it was our saving grace. I prayed to the light to make the sea calmer. I prayed and pleaded because I wanted to still see my mother who was waiting for me back home. My mother who was very supportive of my solo trips and solo climbs. My mother who would take care of my dogs while I was away for a day or two.

After a while, I saw a set of lights a little farther from that lone dot. A little while longer, I figured the set of lights were coming from an island, which I would eventually learn was the pier we were heading to.

As the boat was preparing to dock, I was reminded of that sole dot of light that had been my source of hope during the stormy part of the ride. I looked back to search for it but it was nowhere to be found. I knew it was still there, but the brighter pier lights made it dimmer and impossible to be found.

“Small lights have a way of being seen in a dark world.” – Neal A. Maxwell

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