City of Baguio in Northern Philippines
City of Baguio in Northern Philippines
“You know that cookies don’t sell houses, right?” said her agent. “It’s quite the contrary,”
She sighed. “Maybe someone would like it this way, a home, like it was.”
And it wasn’t that long ago, she thought.
“You’re giving away your memories with the house?” the agent said, not really asking.
“Saying goodbye to my dreams,” she replied. “Maybe someone will buy them.”
Fresh dreams for sale.
The doorbell rang.
“Bye now,” she said, to no one in particular.
Hello, it’s been a long time since I heard your laughter, felt your hug, slept in the afternoon cuddled in your arms. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen you around lately.
I once heard your Mom say that you’re far away, something about a college somewhere. I wonder, you used to have me by your side while reading your school books. I hope your books are not that difficult to read these days.
It’s been quiet around here. Sometimes I hear the door open and thought it was you. Oftentimes the room stays dark the whole day.
But it does get exciting when your Mom and Dad are on the phone with you – I could almost hear your voice, your chuckle, it brings sunshine around here.
I surely remember the times when you laughed so hard while watching those TV show reruns. Or that time when someone must have been nasty to you, and you cried so hard that my forehead got soggy with your tears. I hummed a lullaby in my head and that must have helped because the sobbing stopped and you fell asleep with your face close to mine. The next morning you smiled and said “thank you, my friend.”
Well I’ll just be around if you need another ear, or if you simply want to go back to when you could laugh so easily at every little thing, break into song at odd moments, and throw lots of hugs and cuddles around.
Those are the moments full of sunshine.
Another year rolls by.
After all the places visited, adventures and stories, the best ones are the journeys inside oneself.
The times spent with people who enrich us, who mean most to us, made more precious when they are not by our side.
The discovery in going to new and old places is not so much what we learn about the place but what we learn about ourselves.
When we explore nature and appreciate its minutiae, we become part of something bigger, we see not only with our eyes.
What we share is part of us. But we also keep some, maybe we are still discovering those other parts.
It is a work in progress, like ourselves.
I like the interplay of light and shadow at the Bamboo Forest of Akashiyama, near Kyoto, Japan..
As one walks into the forest, the rustle of the leaves whispers in your ear.
It reminds me of a story about a man who wanted to quit and went to the forest to ask God for a reason not to.
The answer he got was right around him. God compared the fern — which blooms almost instantly and fills the forest with its bright leaves — to the bamboo, which for years after planting, had nothing to show. But He didn’t quit on the bamboo.
And on the fifth year the bamboo suddenly emerged from the ground and rose to the sky, growing several feet every week until it covered the forest with its canopy.
For years the bamboo was silently growing its root system, so it could support itself as it ascends to what it can become.
I sometimes look at these pictures to remind myself of the bamboo, and the light that shines though them, when shadows tend to overcome.
It was a rainy day at this village where fishing is still done the traditional way – with hook and line.
The boats were safely on shore, but I noticed someone working in his boat and he was gracious enough to share some of his time. Here are some of the things I learned.
1. Even when it’s stormy, you still have to work and prepare for when the sun comes out. Preparation is part of catching the fish and takes as long as the time at sea.
2. Chicken feathers make good bait. Never underestimate the hidden treasure in ordinary things – they can be the secret to a livelihood.
3. If you don’t get out and catch some fish, you don’t eat. The world doesn’t owe you a living. But it isn’t always stormy and the sun does come out.
4. Don’t be afraid of the waves when you go out to sea, you will get used to them. But watch out for the clouds and rain that hide the stars and mountains that guide your way home.
5. There is always reason to smile.
I thank Mr. Fisherman for the lessons I picked up that day.
(On the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.)
I make movies in my mind, or sometimes they write themselves in my sleep.
In one movie I see you smiling, coming into the bedroom as I wake up. I tell you about some plans for the day and you laugh. You pick up a towel and glance at me as you step into the shower.
In another movie you gaze into the distance as I rest my head on your shoulder, your arm around me, both of us not speaking a word. I think about the future while wondering if you were thinking about it too.
And then the light hits my eyes and the movies begin to fade.
I choose to linger in the fog, to make the movies keep playing, because then the world looks like a garden in the mist. Because then distance and time disappear.