Tag Archive | nature

It feels like it’s been standing there forever, watching over the world.

There’s this tree on top of a hill beside a road in a small town, and I miss it.

I was there only once, with a bunch of friends, but at odd moments during that windy, cloudy afternoon of laughing and picnicking and mad scrambling to get up on the branches, I sometimes felt like the tree and I were alone.

It reminded me of a place where I was happy as a child. Another hilltop, another small town, with friends I haven’t seen in a while, and one I never will again. But it wasn’t just nostalgia that drew me to that place. It was the tree itself.

It was beautiful. Standing on the horizon, it kept its solitary vigil over the hill and the road and the village, and the sea beyond it, keeping steady through the wind and rain and burning sun.  The world changed from dark to light and cold to warmth, yet still it stood. Constant, immovable, strong.

I want to be like that. I want to be steadfast and strong and constant, reaching higher while growing deeper as well. Sometimes, I feel like I’m too much at the mercy of the seasons, too small and fragile to do anything during the storms other than hide and hope I’m still here when it’s over. Too afraid. That’s not how  I want to live. That’s not how I’m meant to live.

It’s been windy and cloudy this past couple of days, and my thoughts are on that hilltop. I miss that tree.

I wonder if trees miss people, too.


Weird Coconut Tree

This tree can be found beside the southbound highway (near the zigzag) of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, Philippines. I have no idea how it got to be this way. Can anyone solve this mystery?


You’ve won my heart

I’m here with you at last. I’m here, just standing still and letting you love me. And as the wind flows over the grass on the mountains and the hair on my shoulders, I hear you whisper:  “I know you.” And for once, it doesn’t terrify me to be known. Instead, there’s a surge of relief and intense joy, and though I am wet, muddy, and cold, I feel fresh, free, and alive. The soft rain on my skin feels like an embrace so tender it melts me, and it seems like the most romantic thing in the world to be up here on the hills, on this morning of wind and clouds, discovering how much you delight in me. I want to shout and to soar, to tell you that you are amazing and beautiful and glorious, and that you have captured my heart at last. The pursuit is over – I’m done with running away. I am yours.


To the Mountains

Tell me your secrets
Let me know
why the sky confides in you
I want to learn
of the forces that change you
from blue to softer blue

How do you lure
the sun from the heights
to nestle in your embrace?
What goes on behind
the curtain of clouds
that cover your dawn-kissed face?

You bathe in the sunlight,
sleep under the stars
and drink the sweet nectar of rain…
Tell me what urges the Hand
that sculpted your form
to reach out and heal my pain?


Not-so-secret Garden

It’s 11:52 am, and I am sitting here alone in a gazebo in the PSU botanical garden. I should be having lunch with my friends right now, talking and laughing in the canteen, surrounded by other students. But I needed this respite; I needed these precious moments of solitude.  And when faced with a choice between food for the body and food for the soul, the answer is always the same. I am perfectly content to be where I am right now.

It is beautiful here; everywhere I look I see the hand of the great Artist. Palawan is always spectacular in June, but this year everything seemed more amazing, different somehow. Or maybe the change is in me, maybe I have learned to see more clearly now. I don’t really know, and for this moment, it doesn’t seem to matter.

I look around me, and I am filled with a wonder, a joy I cannot possibly express in words. Bliss, perhaps, is closest to what I am feeling right now. There are flowers everywhere, in every color. The cool rains have woken them up from their sleep, and they have never seemed lovelier to me. Yellowbells, hibiscus, bougainvillas, zinnias, periwinkles, orchids, and a dozen others I cannot name. The fire trees, laden with blossoms, lift up their dazzling red flowers to the soft blue of the sky. Scattered on the ground beneath the branches are the fallen petals – still colorful, still striking. Even in death, there is beauty, there is poetry, they seem to say. However, it is the unobtrusive simplicity of the gardenias that capture my attention the most. A long row of bushes lining the pathway has burst into bloom, and the glossy, dark green leaves seem to offer the pure white flowers as a gift. Their captivating scent floats through the garden, giving the breeze a sweetness that makes me want to dream and dream and dream….

It is easy to fall asleep here, easy to rest. The garden grows on a low hill overlooking the sea, which glistens joyfully in the sun, as if like me, it is glad that it is June once again. The waves break gently on the shore, weaving a hypnotic melody that only those who listen closely can understand. Mesmerized by the music, I lift up my eyes to the mountains in the distance. Dark blue and enigmatic, they whisper secrets to the clouds while sunlight and shadow play on their shoulders. Surrounded by such loveliness, I cannot keep myself from I thinking: Can there be any other place more alive?

In a few minutes, I shall have to leave. Once again, I will be caught up in the world of classes, responsibilities, work, relationships. Not necessarily a bad world, but different from this serenity, and at times hurtful and confusing. But I know that these past few moments have strengthened me. There is healing in the garden, in solitude, in communion with my true Love. In the breeze I can almost hear Him whisper, See, I love you. Do you not know that? Here in the garden or there in the crowd, I am with you. Even when the flowers and the fragrances fade, I will be your peace. Always.

You see, that is what I really  needed. To hear Him. More than the solitude, more than the loveliness, I craved His voice. In the busyness, in the crazy rush of daily life, I sometimes forget to listen. So I come here to reconnect. And always – always – I find Him waiting.


Summer Mornings and Scented Air

I woke up to a miracle yesterday morning… Instead of the usual golden warmth that promised stifling heat later in the day, I was greeted by soft rain and a mysterious fragrance in the air. Still sleepy, I got up and wandered out into the balcony, wondering what could have given the breeze its heady sweetness. I looked out into the backyard, and was rendered breathless with what I discovered. Just beyond our fence was a small grove of coffee trees, and this morning, it was spectacular. Clusters and clusters of thick white blossoms graced the rain-drenched branches, and bees and other insects braved the rain to collect its sweet juices. Every single branch was in bloom, and the pure white petals were a beautiful contrast to the dark green of the glossy leaves. Having never seen coffee flowers before, I was, well, stunned. It was absolutely lovely -ethereal almost, and my ignorance made the surprise even more wonderful.

This morning, I eagerly got out of bed and rushed outside to check on the trees, only to find that the flowers hung limply on the branches, brown and lifeless. Somehow, the realization that yesterday’s beauty had faded made the memory more precious. The moment was gone, but no matter how fleeting it was, I know that the sight of coffee trees in glorious bloom and the scent that led to an unforgettable morning will always remain fresh in my heart.