I am happy to be alive. I am happy that I can breathe still. I am happy to witness every sunrise and sunset, especially whenever I ride in a bus. My two-hour travel to the province or back to the city always give me time and space to reflect on things that matter to me. I always let the thoughts play in my mind as I witness the same places, the same roads, and perhaps the same vehicles. I get used to it. And I have loved the way I enjoy the trip while the window’s open to the breeze, blowing away the bad thoughts.
But it’s not like today. I am riding in a different bus where windows are permanently closed. I am feeling really cold and it makes my head ache. It is the uneasiness that I never want to experience in a trip that’s why I always ride in an ordinary bus. However, to some necessary reasons, I need to ride here today.
On the window, tiny raindrops give testimony of an early rainfall somewhere before our town. They make the outside view blurry. At some point, a wonderful thing passes through that blurry glass – the golden radiance of the star. I let it touch my skin and warm my body. It’s awesome. It always makes me feel alive.
Alive. Being alive. It’s nice to be alive –
A dazzle of sunshine interrupts my thoughts. The next moments are like flashes of lightning – fast paces, stunning realization, and frightening truth.
The only words that my mind have processed. The only words that explain everything about it. There’s no need for definition, for everybody knows and feels what it meant. I first encounter the words when I was a kid, but how could a kid interpret and understand why her ice cream melts within seconds? But still, there’s no excuse. When I reached my adolescent stage, Al Gore and his ‘The Inconvenient Truth’ finally volunteered to explain it to me and for the very first time in my life I questioned whether mankind would finally face extinction. The thought scared me to death.
I am afraid to die. I am not ready to die yet. And I don’t want to die through catastrophe. I hate to talk about this matter.
I look outside to change the topic, and the sun says hello to me. In my mind, I ask myself what man should do to cure the earth’s fever. Reviewing what I learned, I notice the bus stops at the toll gate – there are so many vehicles on earth. My brows form a knot as I wish I could eliminate cars that blow carbon monoxide. I watch the driver taking the ticket on the automated machine as I ask myself how man could possibly take the bad air compounds out of the atmosphere. I wish human beings could be able to invent a machine that can capture air compounds that trap heart from the sun and just throw it away in the outer space. I punch myself, questioning if there might be reaction of sorts if there would be air in it (because there’s no air in it, right?!). A pretending-genius in science is me. I try to think more realistic, deciding whether man can breakdown those compounds into single elements (carbon separate from oxygen). Carbon doesn’t harm the ozone layer as far as I knew and oxygen as well. However, I wonder if it is possible, considering that mankind is very busy inventing new gadgets for their pleasure.
Technology – another source of problem. Couldn’t man create nature-friendly equipments? Earth is getting heavily crowded and wearisome with lots of buildings and machines which is not very suitable for natural beings like humans, animals and plants; but it seems that it doesn’t matter at all. Well, why should that matter, one would say, if we have everything we need to enjoy life? Mankind, simply, is obsessed with the artifacts that they have produced. I have no objections about human intelligence, and I need to admit that the advancement of technology in this generation is quiet amazing that if we combine the discoveries in the past hundred of decades, it is just a tiny particle compare to what the present generation have in the past few decades.
But then, is it all that matter?
How about sitting on a rocking chair with a cup of coffee in hand and waiting for the sun to set in the west horizon? Won’t that give pleasure? How about planting trees and plants and flowers and make your surroundings enjoyable by just looking with it?
It is what man has been missing all his life – satisfaction. You would likely to ask why people are not yet satisfied in spite of everything that they already have and why they want more from it. Well, it’s a pleasure to answer that man will never be satisfied with any material pleasure – temporary pleasure – because man is designed and destined to be satisfied only when they enjoy natural pleasure – pleasure brought by out instincts. Did I make your nose bleed? I just mean that simple and natural things are satisfactory.
Besides, we don’t need much and so our Mother Earth as well. She doesn’t want the world to be so complicated; she needs a nice and peaceful world for her children to enjoy, to live and to survive. If we don’t do anything about it, especially with their fever, she will take charge of everything. And you know what she will going to do, right? She will use her powers to eliminate all the trash in the world by all means – earthquakes, storms, volcanic eruptions, landslides, fires, tidal waves and so on. Of course I’m, not guessing. Isn’t it that global warming could cause all of those I mentioned? Would you like that to happen?
Of course not. Neither do I like it. If those catastrophes occur, we, man, might be eliminated as well. Then all of man’s hardships and accomplishments will be erased permanently. Nobody will know how great humans are, for there is no more man walking on the earth. Who will survive? Perhaps, the animals, and plants, which spent their lives adopting the diverse and dynamic nature. Won’t they remember us? Maybe they would, but they will never learn about our greatness, since man concluded that their intellectual capacity is below ours.
Enough. Of course we don’t want that to happen. And we won’t let that happen, right? It’s not too late and we still have time to make a change, but we need to make haste for we can’t control the forces of nature – including time. So what shall we do then? We don’t need to do much, we just have to collaborate. We need to participate in this fight. We need to be united. Once and for all, to realize that this, our world, is the greatest blessing and the most important test that we should take care of.
And as I step out of the bus and welcome by the most popular air pollution of the city, I wish I knew whom to ask to take charge of cleaning the vehicles’ engines. But then, luckily, I think I saw the LTO’s number printed on the side of the jeep and thought that they might want to help me with it.
The next thing I remember I did was thinking that I had a great time reflecting today as I reach for my cell phone in my pocket.
-Angel Lea Madriñan, Nov. 12, 2008
Photo from Unsplash