Flowing rivers of heartaches-A A +A
Monday, October 28, 2013
LAST week, my Facebook friends brought the article I wrote last January 8, 2012 for the Mountain Province Exponent back to life. It comes with a nauseous feeling now reminding me of the lyrics of a song I just heard.
"I've been a walking heartache all my life."
Let me rerun the article here with some updates and revisions that reflects a current outlook and an appeal for change on how we really run our affairs from practical self-serving and credit seeking and protective perspectives to riskier self-sacrificing and life-giving affirmative action.
Where the river runs, everything will live.
A wise Jew penned that verse. In 2012, it opened a way for me to reminisce on how civilizations and societies have seen and valued their rivers throughout time.
Much of the stories on historical beginnings begin with a garden metaphor. That is because societies and cultures began and thrived with agriculture and the rivers that watered them. When you think of these earlier societies and their settlements, “a river running through it,” usually gets into the picture. It is rather instinctive on the part of our ancestors to build settlements close to the river. There is where life is. There is where life thrives and sustained.
Oh where the river runs, were great songs made. Where the river runs, romance begun and the thirst for love’s blissful yearnings fulfilled. Where the river runs, solitude and meditation gets its surging fill of life, of inspirations and moving on.
Several decades ago, a tourism ad proclaimed, “It is more fun in Switzerland.” If I had seen it in 89, I would have exclaimed it is. Back then, we flew over there where the rivers still run crystal clear as ice from the mountaintops to the sea. They remain as such today. In great countries, development sustains the quality of the rivers or rehabilitates them back to life, a repentant gesture of an error or sin against the next generation(s).
I must say the same thing about my homeland and damn those who say I cannot. I speak the truth about experiencing fun and life in our rivers but I really cannot, knowing what I saw over there; and what I see and experience here now.
There is something amiss with our rivers when I use this Swiss standard to entice visitors and discover the fun of their lives in our waters that have lost the freshness life in them. Fun is enjoying life, adding more to it, by drinking its coolness. Except those found in the unsettled wilds, our rivers stink or overflows their banks with deadly silt.
Annie Dillard with a season ticket to observing nature published, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” in 1974. She was 28 years old. The book won the Pulitzer Prize. Reading through it reveals an observant and contemplative young mind. In this work, Dillard was fully engaged with life, more generally awake than most in her theatre of life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That was great fun “and a river runs through it.”
Dillard is oftentimes grouped with Henry Thoreau, Waldo Emerson, and John Muir and yes even Emily Dickenson – great writers who experienced and knew about rivers - writers who influenced civilization’s great thinkers and leaders. Moreover, would you imagine the celebrated Mark Twain writing about young America without the Mississippi River at the back of his mind? Where the river runs and is alive, there is life and real fun. I put that added emphasis on live rivers now because many of them in our archipelago are long dead.
All rivers drain and sustain the migratory and cyclic life therein with the sea. Rivers are highways of life for many surviving fishes and eels to complete their life cycle. There was a time when men, beasts and birds visit the river to catch an abundance of these creatures for food. A river is alive if it yet provides the pleasures and fun of fishing.
We have heard it said on various occasions, life begets life. Quality food crops get their irrigation from a live river not a dead one. The latter now provides us with sickly crops nourished by waste and poisoned water. Cancerous food products are what we get from dead and dying rivers. That is not fun but pain and more sufferings.
Switzerland to this day kept their rivers alive. It reflects on living individuals and communities who care about life. Only living communities and societies, absorbed in the arts and science of living rivers, have fun and more from flowing and cascading clear waters. Even if they build industries to explore outer space, they can love what they see, enjoy and preserve the life of a river, its songs, fishes and the fun of its feel.
Our tourism come on these days says, “It is more fun in the Philippines.” Why not, just no one has a copyright to more life, more fun.
To have more fun means having more life without the coke in it I should add.
I may know we are up to the challenge when our rivers begin coming back to life, when our lifestyles beget life not destroy it; when we just don’t shout save this and that river and yet lead lifestyles that degrades all of life, or when we just do not copy a concept to raise revenues and incomes.
It is how we package the product to mean what we say it is that truly justifies our ownership of an idea or a great song, a legacy from humanity.
Will the true original owner not applaud?
Where the river runs, everything will live. There is the proof of more fun and life in the Philippines. It does not just come as a tourism advertisement or a mumbo-jumbo “init at bitwin” sentimental article like this.
We are a nation famous with so much not working for us. We crave authority so bad we are willing to kill anyone, a line of succession if not the massacre clans and people unless they bow to our will. We love science too and our experts fill international institutions. Believe me, we are a nation of institutions staffed by planners from top to bottom. Authority, power, reason, logical thinking, development strategies; just what are these to who we are, have been all these years or will yet become?
There are hundreds of rivers in this archipelagic land. These all judge the genuineness of a lusty spirit whose lifetime outputs speaks more for the self and self-serving interests than to a nation’s quest and journey that connect to the betterment of human lives. If our rivers flow once more to sustain life, we are truly on the road to better living and truly, a strong nation.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 29, 2013.