Luab: From plainness to beauty-A A +A
Saturday, February 9, 2013
IF anyone had told me that an old tamarind tree could be a dazzling beauty, I would have scoffed at him. However, I had the biggest surprise of my life last Jan. 31.
That particular early morning, it was raining in Talamban. However, by 7 a.m. the sun started to shine. Opening my window to let in the fresh air, I gaped at the picture of beauty just about 10 meters from my eye level. The tamarind tree with a thousand or more rain droplets was glistening with twinkling golden lights as the sun’s rays hit the raindrops from all angles.
There, glittering in the sunlight its leaves, decorated with brown fruits all over the branches of the trees, looked like a giant Christmas tree. To top it all, a fleet of tukmos’ (Philippine doves or spotted doves) were transferring from perch to perch. To make the picture complete, yellow butterflies were also flitting all over the tree.
As I stopped whatever I was doing to take in its beauty, I remembered Luke Chapter 12 that says, “Look at the wild flowers: they do not spin or weave; yet I tell you, even Solomon with all his wealth was not clothed as one of these.”
When my eldest grandson came to visit, I told him about my experience. He said, “Kabati ana, Lola (How ugly that looks, grandma).” To me, however, because I had been privileged to see the tree in its entire splendor, it will never be ugly again.
Because of that experience I now understand why old people can still look at each other with the memory of what they used to be.
They do not see the wrinkles or the thinning hair, or the changes brought about by old age. What they still see is the memory of the bursting exuberance of youth the way they were fifty to sixty years ago. So when someone compliments a senior citizen by saying,
“You haven’t changed, you are still as lovely or as handsome as ever,” believe the guy. His eyes do not see you now. What he sees is the memory of you in a breathtaking aura of loveliness as you rushed through the open corridors of young life sans make-up with only God’s gift of creation in full bloom. You too must have portrayed a pretty picture of God’s handiwork.
As I continued in my reflection, I also remembered that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!” My teasing grandson who is now in college had added these words to his critique of my experience. "Gosh! Grandma, you always find everything you see nice!" When he was much younger he would pull me to hurry me along so I wouldn’t take so much time admiring the orchids that were lined up for sale outside Redemptorist Church grounds.
My memories of gushing waterfalls, flowing wide rivers, tiny little streams, lush vegetation, wild yellow bells and frangipani trees are beautiful visions of what we used to have before man shortened our mini forest by progress (their words, not mine).
Even last Feb.1 as six of us old friends visited someone laid to rest at Minglanilla cemetery, I remembered nudging Loleng, my friend, as I pointed to the large bouquet of white varied cut- flowers, which she had arranged for her husband. I said, "Look at how pristine and beautiful they look." She nodded and pointed at the American red roses in a vase. She whispered, "Look at the red buds starting to open." As I looked at the faces of my childhood friends, I knew that no matter how old we will get to be, what I will always remember would be the picture of beautiful people, whose bonding comes from a friendship of long standing. I hold them all in my treasure box of wonderful memories.
As election time nears many of us old folks will choose our candidates according to what we remember of Don Sergio Osmena or Don Vicente Rama, who once graced our portals of government with honest and good leadership.
In my case I still remember the Magsaysay, Manglapus, Paredes tandem, the giants in the field of politics who followed their consciences and just worked silently to make our lives better. Beautiful people, handiwork of God’s creation shine even up to present and we wish that there were more like them.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 10, 2013.