Photo by. M.C. Retoria
Its green, young leaves bode life and continuous growth for much of concerned Tanayans. The use of chemicals, nutrients and vitamins by a team of experts from UP Los Banos, Laguna, looks promising much as noncommittal they sounded seeing already grown fungi noticeably weakening its overly matured cells. From churchgoers whose silent prayers seemed to father 'greenshoots,' its surprising look of newness revitalized sagging hopes into
self-induced visions of lasting growth. Indeed, hints of hopeful smiles were on everyone's lips. Until, like a passing mirage, reality struck and on sounds of tolling church bells, it emitted its last hurrah! "nagko-komunyon kami nang marinig namin ang isang malakas na dagundong mula sa labas," a startled communicant narrated. "Mahina lang naman ang ulan kahit may bagyo kaya wala sa isip namin na mangyayari ito sa akasya," recalled another. "Lalo pa't Todos los Santos pa naman ngayon . . ." injected his friend. Life's end is always unexpected and... in almost all situations… unwelcomed! More so for a beloved acacia that, for centuries past, had helped shape Tanay's history and, to a great extent, the religiosity of its people. "Mula elementary hanggang high school, sa lilim ng dalawang punong iyan lumaki kaming magkakaeskuwela," reminisced a bald, old man with cane in hand. "Kapag Biernes Santo, sa init ng
The unexpected end of The unexpected end of the last standing acacia the last standing acacia
araw, unahan kaming maisilong ang Poon namin sa lilim niyan," recalled his companion, a retired balikbayan. "Parang hindi kompleto ang misa kapag hindi ko nakita o napadaan ako sa akasya. Mami-miss ko talaga iyan," uttered a middle age woman accompanying her frail-looking mother wearing thick eyeglasses who in a soft voice said "…Paalam na, mahal naming akasya...," visibly looking unabashedly sad at the sight of the fallen tree. Wordless, I heard myself objecting, having heard the word "paalam" in her voice. Parting is such a sweet sorrow that we're better off living without uttering it. I distinctly remember the words "...we don't say goodbye..." as the lyrics of a song titled "Immortality" by the Bee gees and for such depressing reality, memory becomes, almost always, a soothing, healing balm. Somehow, unspoken closure to life's episode keeps its memory even more alive. And memory... for the living… is the only thing that lasts!
Yet, even memory fades, as time heals and erases the pain and suffering or even the joy and bliss that time itself created. Twice the whole evening, she endured labor pains, only to quash her hopes of normal delivery when, at sunrise, a caesarean section appeared indispensable. "...it's a boy!," as happiness washed away the risks taken for their much awaited first born. "...huli, yehey… diyan ka lang pala nagtatago...," as Jimmy, aged nine and with redded face, straightened up from his kneeling position on the large, concaved portion underneath the roots of one of the two, big acacia trees. They regularly played there during recess time and after class. "Reverend father..., distinguished guests, ladies and...," as the young Jimmy delivered the Salutatory address during the 11th Elementary Graduation Ceremony of San Ildefonso College. It was a family pride repeatedly recalled during many family gatherings.
"..sa gitna ng dalawang akasya ...ganyan, ayos na 'yan." Seeing the hearse in place, the officiating Priest began: "...in nominee Patri, et filio, et spiritu santo. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine domine..." to which the servers answered: "Ad Deum que laetificat juventutem meam..." And reaching its final blessing, the priest in solemn benediction intoned "...rest in peace, Jimmy !!" Snippets like the above illustrate what truly life is all about: a passing scene… from womb to tomb, from cradle to the grave! Like the acacia, we are all travelers in this planet simply passing thru leaving only footprints that, like fine lines in the sands, are washed away by regular waves from the ocean. There is no exception. A few lucky ones may tarry, like lost lambs in a herd, but the end is certain, as certain as night follows day!!
Au revoir, dear friend, and in the silence of the night,
"...sing no sad songs for me..."
ARF 20 November 2017