I remember our old life back in the country when I was still a child.
My father, knowing in advance of an impending storm, would always tie a big rope on our small nipa hut unto a big tree. He would never run out to the made-out shelters in the center of town.
He was that proud. He knew what needs to be done. And he knew we had to go through it, and we shall prevail. As a family, we needed to.
Instead he would work all day, preparing water and gathering whatever food we can afford, and making sure the windows, walls, and the whole foundation of our home will thoroughly be secured.
And when the storm finally hits, despite the howling winds and torrents of rain, amidst all the fears and doubts if we are ever going to make it, all of us will always come out safe after the deluge. Happy to have made it, happy to be alive, ecstatic to have gone through it together, as a family.
The past week, we had a tremendous storm. The whole country is submerged in water, and all that came with it. Trash, leftovers, lives, memories. Indeed, it’s a very stark reminder that whatever we throw away at nature and somebody else in between, we, in the cycle of things, will eventually get them back.
Storms come in all shapes and sizes. This one is much like a flash flood. Pouring everything it got, burying everything in its path in the shortest possible time, catching anything and anyone who are, like me, foolish enough not to understand its strength and its consequences.
But unlike my father who came before me, I wasn’t prepared. I was caught totally unaware, it caught me completely by surprise. Foolishly thinking that the very foundation of our home was thoroughly secured, it mocked me straight in the face. This storm struck me so hard in my weakest spot that I never knew existed, until now.
Alas, after a few stressful days and sleepless nights, it had come to pass. And as we gather our lives and our homes, or what’s left of it, we will contemplate the hard lessons learned or if there ever was something to be learned from it. For now, we could only reminisce and quite hopefully, cling to those long lost happy memories, enough to make it a reason to stay and rebuild whatever was lost.
I should have been pro-active, like my father once was. But yes, there’s always a lesson to be learned everyday. And a thousand reasons to live everyday. Such life lessons should not be taken for granted. Otherwise, every after storm that had passed our way and never learned from it, is like living not thinking that sooner or later, you won’t have a home to rebuild nor a reason to rebuild it for.
Yes, it had come to pass. After the storm, I can’t be too happy know that it was, finally, over. Only, in its aftermath, the effect it had on me still lingers down my throat. Because something in me, within me… changed.
And I don’t like it.