Friday, April 10, 2009
A summer of my childhood.
IT is on these lazy summer days that one’s thoughts turn to summers past and the happy memories of those years when I spent summer in Manara in Negros Island with my grandmother. We have a coffee plantation there, which is the source of income for the family.
I remember that I couldn’t wait for school to end so that the summer vacation and the happy times could begin. There were so many things to do, so many places to visit, so many games to play.
There were many wild places, many nooks and crannies to explore; many fish and crabs to catch; many trees to climb; many fruits to pick and eat; and a big river with clear cool water to swim in.
The coffee plantation stretches as far as the eye could see, and the wind blew across them unhampered so that even when the sun was at its hottest, you won’t feel the heat on your skin because the breeze was cool and you become sunburned without realizing it.
On land, there were many things to see. Riverbanks and islets overgrown with trees and weeds. There were almost always birds nest hidden in the grass or among the branches of the trees. When you climbed trees like the guava or tamarind or santol, you finnd ripe fruits ready for the taking and eating.
Then there were the birds, lizards and insects. Because there were many trees, naturally there were many birds of all sizes, colors, and bird calls. Sometimes you would be roused from reverie by the sweet song of a bird and you looked up and searched for it, following the source of the song and you would see a colorful bird, perhaps a yellow oriole which had one of the sweetest songs I have ever heard (they are gone now).
Insects were plentiful. When you entered a grove of trees, you would be greeted by the hum of cicadas which were well camouflaged. Although one may be perched on the trunk of a tree right in front of you, you could not see it until you came near and it flies off with a screech.
When you walked the pond banks and grasslands, brown grasshoppers hopped ahead of you. Dragonflies also hovered ahead of you, the small blue and white ones perching on the tips of blades of grass then flying away when you come nearer. The bigger red ones hovered over the water like helicopters, swooping down at prey now and then.
Butterflies of all colors and sizes fluttered everywhere among the flowers. And bees couldn’t be ignored with their buzzing among the flowers of vegetable vines.
Oh, those were the days...