The lives of trees and grasses
By Virginia J. Pasalo
TO see the quiet plain from a provincial bus is not quite the same as looking at it from the window of a car. In a car, the eyesight competes with other passing vehicles for the view. At this level, there is not much to wonder at. I become a part of the movement of the flat scenes and objects I pass by.
Viewed from a higher elevation, in the front seat of the provincial bus, by the window, the green fields rolled before my eyes, a refreshing feeling of newness, of excitement, as grasses find their spaces in the newly-harvested areas, and compete for their existence in a highly-selective environment where grasses are not seen for their graceful beauty as they sway with the morning wind, but for the disturbance they bring to the growth of commercial crops. Along the highway are clusters of trees, whose lives continue, partly because of the advocacy to preserve trees, but mostly because there is the rain, and the sun and the soil, in an endless dance.
Going back to Quezon City, in the afternoon, the orange sun is painted in the canvas of the wide pink-gray sky, and the canvas suddenly changes with the outpouring of heavy rain. The view is clouded, but the interplay of elements gave it a vibrance, a more intense rendering, a quality of quiet charm. At this point, I wonder about the lives of the trees and the swaying of grasses. They seemed to have receded in the background, merged with the speeding bus and the pouring rain.
As soon as I got back in the office, I brewed coffee, and thanked all the energies of which I am a part of, for all the blessings of the day. Life has its joys, despite the horrific acts of humans who have lost their humanity.
In front of my desktop, I see them again, trees uprooted along with electric posts, toys to the whimsical wind, forces of nature that impose their wrath on the ground, and above it. In a sudden burst of enormous energy, about-to-be harvested coffee, along with coconut trees, were leveled to the ground, except for the grasses beneath them that crouched to survive, but eventually drowned in the flood. Puerto Rico is devastated, and by nightfall, the whole territory was in total darkness. The governor disclosed that it could take months for Puerto Rico to recover from the electrical shutdown.
And so is Mexico. Mexico is troubling because I could see the trees swaying, boats dancing madly in the river where they used to float quietly, and just a few kilometers from where they were, one could hear the sound of a crash. Dozens of buildings, including a school, were sucked to the ground before they had the chance to rock from side to side, leaving many dead. The 7.1 magnitude quake, came just 11 days after a magnitude 8.1 quake off the coast of southern Mexico. The devastation was cataclysmic.
Whether the hurricanes and the earthquakes came as a natural occurrence or as an experimentation on weather manipulation through the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), it boils down to one fact: Human lives, like the lives of trees and grasses, are most often at the mercy of the dominant forces in the environment, both natural and man-made.
the wind blew arrows
piercing through glass panes
sweeping old dirt,
dumping new dirt.
a drunken man flies
with a bird split by debris
blood dripping, splattering,
on the flooded ground
a songbird sings,
a requiem, hers.