“Heal the world

make it a better place,

for you and for me

and the entire human race…”

So goes the song popularized by all-time favorite icon Michael Jackson. It may sound cliché to some, but hey, every lyric implies something; echoes of plea seem to reverberate from someone who’s in dire need of help amidst adversity.

Ages ago, she was once robed with elegantly dazzling features of greenery. Dense was her hair with lush emeralds falling perfectly, with color symbolizing the sign of hope. Her eyes were glinting like crystal-clear waters which aren’t disturbed by the plates beneath the ocean floor. As she exhales, her breath whispers fresh, thin air of oxygen soothing every living creature. With her rounded face eternal as the heavens above, her children’s nothing more to ask than to live in that serene and peaceful motherly arms of hers embracing them.

With the tides of fleeting time however, everything turned out differently. There she is on one nook left alone, singing the lyrics above, but only few cares. Gone are the days where she beams that tranquil aura. Nowadays, you’ll see her poised with ferocious glare of madness, of anger. She’s always drowning herself in the oceans of fear and uncertainty. This time, her every breath surges with thick fuming gases of bitterness, of frustrations. Devastated.

I was once one of her children who made her life miserable. Ever since, I despise the things she asks me to care: plants, trees, nature in general, whatever concerns the environment most. Pulling off grasses, playing water for guns and refillable swimming pools, and pitching flower petals were my petty games when I was a kid, unmindful that galloons of water are wasted. While chasing trends during adolescence, I embrace the use of hair sprays though such contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which thin and slash off the ozone layer. Lazily, I always wanted to ride a cab or jeepneys, or as I learned it, stomped hard on the gas pedal to run our car’s engine fast even my destination’s only a stone’s throw away. Fast food was my everyday meal when I got to lodge in the city, thus plastic spoons and Styrofoam plates were always messily dispersed around the neighbor’s backyard. With the luxury of time, I always wanted to sleep air-conditioned, which of course spurts off Freon gas. Simple things yet make big impacts- indifferent and apathetic acts which caused her to teach me the greatest lesson of my life.

In the Philippines, super typhoons visit us frequently resulting to floods, considering our archipelagic doctrine where bodies of water bound us. It was June 2008, I was still starting to adapt living independently in the metro when typhoon named “Frank” (Fengshen in Japan) hit us intently, as though punishing me personally. Two nights and three days I’ve lived alone in my room, no water, no electricity neither pennies to buy candles or ample food for survival. Phone lines were also disabled; I had no batteries to connect with my parents back home in the province. I starved, felt hopeless, but all I’ve got to do was sleep in order not to feel anything. As “Frank” gradually ceased, I struggled to travel home. Unfortunately, in the middle of my journey, I was stuck in a bridge where vehicles can’t pass through due to the waist-level-high flash floods. With persistence to go home, I hurdled the angry flood on foot, swam against the currents while snapping elbows together with other folks who also wanted to cross. We’re stuck to no-chance-of-coming-back. “Is this already the end of my world? Or am I just punished for my nature insensitivities?” Suddenly, the rain heavily drooped down again, not to mention seeing two people who’re crossing the currents being taken away by flood to death.

Sorry Mother Earth, sorry! This was the last line I only remembered uttering. The next time I see myself was already at home. “I survived.”

Yes, the woman I’m referring to is no ordinary woman; she is but Mother Nature whom in her arms nestled the very life of every living creature and humankind. Early this year, we faced her various signs of madness to us: the saddening earthquake in Haiti, thickening blizzard around United Sates and Canada, intermittent tsunami in Sendai, Japan, and so to note. Let’s not wait for “Sorrys” to be late before more of these catastrophes come and hit our lives. I realized it’s best to start from simple things and undo our old ways. Every little thing we do, counts: Recycle. Plant trees. Conserve water. Change for the better.

This is my story of inspiration. From this, I’ve learned. I was transformed. It’s metanoia– a change of mind, of heart.

Save the environment NOW.

You’ll see, she’d be better again soon like before: happy in peace.

(official entry for the 2011 International Essay Contest for Young People by and UNECO on the theme “My Story of Inspiration”)


2 thoughts on “Metanoia”

  1. Pingback: The Pluviophile |

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