Thursday, July 15, 2010

Special Notes from a Short Visit at Daddy’s House

My visit in dad’s hometown provided me a chance to reminisce the moments I’ve enjoyed as a child and also had me thinking of my somewhat severing bond with nature. Yes, severing bond with nature in alarmingly awkward condition because I feel that I already grown accustomed to city life. I am now used to all the wild sounds around me brought on by modernization replacing the sound of birds or roosters, I feel comfortable looking at the view from my window of galvanized roofs, towering building facades and hanging cables rather than magnificent mountains and hanging branches of tall trees, I am very much adapted to passing through walkways festooned with piles of garbage instead of green grass and flowering plants. Then it occurred to me, my kids are already missing out the chance to swim through the river where I used to bathe because the river is now full of silt from animal waste and household garbage. They have lost the opportunity to be delighted as trees transform come nighttime and become lighted with thousands of fireflies in the same way it captivated me and my siblings. I guess fireflies now seem to shy away from humans as we were not able to see even one of them or they could have been totally gone as their habitat had already been destroyed apparently because of uncontrolled logging activities. Most kids today fail to experience chasing colorful butterflies along the meadows and might never have the chance to witness firsthand at how these creatures come to life, and other countless happy moments with nature.

I remember my grandmother used to tell me that during her time Manila abound with fruit-bearing trees and how they enjoyed picking fruits and flowers for free. During my time, the city is no longer like that, you need to travel some kilometers away to benefit from nature’s bounty. I feel fortunate to have experienced there at my father’s place the joy of planting and picking fruits from someone else's yard without being accused of stealing since neighbors gladly gave away their produce rather than being left rotten. Now, you need to travel miles away from the city or to search far-flung island to enjoy nature in finest form. Kids in the city can only see fruits or its packaged dried variety inside the market or grocery store, their idea on how they were grown and produced were mostly learned from books or from the internet. Most of these fruits were mass produced inside plantation where you need to ask the owner’s permission to see them up close or else setting even one foot inside the perimeter would be reason for you to be nabbed for trespassing.

About a year ago, I noticed how engrossed my 12 year old son playing a game over the internet where he was able to raise animals, till the land, reap what he sow, sell what he reap until he was able to acquire another land to cultivate. I was even more surprised when I heard friends excitedly talk about their farmlands, a virtual farmland that is. How they spend several hours each day attending to their crops to prevent them to wither. Just imagine spending more than an hour in a given day virtually getting something done without much real gain. I remember asking my son lightheartedly if he was able to harvest enough for our dinner or earned that much to pay for our electric bill That is all saddening because the first hand experience of the natural world I used to enjoy as a child is bit by bit being replaced with a digital world my kids and the rest of the world is now addicted to, a digital world far from realism. While in the middle of these thoughts, I heard a call from my father then handed me a plant for me to bring back home in the city. This, I said to myself, is something to remind me that it is not yet too late to introduce my kids to environmental consciousness and to renew my bond with nature.

~ written in Dec. 2009~

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