Wednesday, January 08, 2014

One day in your life... along old Roxas Avenue

“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.” -A. A. Milne
My feet were yet of a nine-year-old and trudging on a dusty, rugged road. I was in grade three and alone to walk my way to school on that innocent and lonely road of Roxas ["Raw-has"] Avenue. It was a two-way country road with a long stream in the middle. And it was a stream surrounded by tall and tiny spiky green grass growing alongside. In the tenderness of a young mind, I would stop from grass to grass and take a look and be lost at the beauty of these taken-for-granted blades. The mid endings. The hairs. The cottons. The blooms. The tiny blossoms. The bulbs. The berries! Really, something was on the grasses of that place, I had the longing to behold them, to feel them, to take them home. I could feel the softness touching my face. And the winds! Yes, I could see the wind in that long-stretch part of the world because grasses swayed and danced and rustled and sang. But the song was somewhat of the past that one seemed to want to return to. And as I began to walk the road, the song itself began to sing…

“One day in your life, you’ll remember a place. Someone touching your face. You’ll come back and you’ll look around, you’ll… One day in your life, you’ll remember the love you found here...
"You’ll remember me, somehow. Though you don’t need me now, I will stay in your heart. And when things fall apart, you’ll remember one day… One day in your life…”

Almost forty years passed and it is noon, and fierce is the sun — and I am walking along the new Roxas Avenue. Wide and deep is the canal in the middle of the broad street; it is concrete, tree-lined and grass-less. Gone are the grass of my tender years. Gone are the grass of my childhood. And the road is no longer country and carefree but one of a big city. A structure — the tallest, so far — is standing in the horizon of the other end, white and green — the Marco Polo. The road is busy, busy, busy. Wheels. Business buildings. Houses. People walking and talking. Trade is even in the dead of night. Roxas Avenue is innocent and lonely no longer. It is now tourist highways. But the song of old is on air once again. And I can’t help but remember: One day in my life, I remember the place, something touching my face, I come back and I look around me… One day in my life along old Roxas Avenue in Davao City, Philippines.

REMNANTS: THE GRASS OF YORE. Take heart, sadden not, the grass of tender years are alive, thriving silently underneath, pushing itself through thickness of concrete-walled canal. Remnants — don’t you see? — standing straight under the sun from the crevices of a hardened slope. I picked a stalk and ran its softness, hairy-ends on my face — a reunion! My hairs standing. My eyes misty. Be of good courage, lo, they die not. Hope, its life testifies — and of joy and of triumph.

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