Friday, November 10, 2006

Hidden Treasures

One of the benefits of living in a rural and coastal community like Lianga is the opportunity to discover, without even intending to, hidden places where coincidence and the magic forces of nature bring forth spectacular vistas and sceneries.

One can simply be walking along a seldom used trail in a remote portion of the coast or traveling by car through the hot and dusty roads when like a flash, it strikes you out of the blue and you simply have to stop, stare and drink in scenes of such overpowering beauty that you can be lost in wonder as time seems to stand still and eternity looks at you in the eye.

I once had an uncle from the United States who was so mesmerized by these random bits of breathtaking beauty that it took us over three hours to travel 89 kilometers. He had to ask me many times to stop the car then he had to get out, revel in the scenery and then take souvenir pictures. The good thing about the whole experience was that I saw these places again through his eyes and gained a better perspective and appreciation for what I may have, over time, dismissed lightly and taken for granted.

The latter is the reason why the local people must remain conscious and appreciative of the beauty that surrounds them and the natural environment that not only sets the backdrop for such beauty but also protects and nurtures it. It is true that the best things in life are free but the fact that they have been given freely often leads to a cavalier and callous attitude in the face of the environmental damage and destruction brought about not only by nature itself but by the hand of man as well.

One must also remember that the struggle to protect the environment is not only a battle to preserve the aesthetic aspects of it but a broad struggle to protect cultures and cultural values, ways and patterns of living as well as the "soul" of the people whose lives revolve and depend upon the solid earth on which they walk, the mountains and valleys that define and delineate their world and the rivers and oceans that refresh and nurture it.

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