Friday, September 10, 2010

Nature and Healing


“Diretso lang po. (Just go straight ahead.)”

Slightly disoriented by the heat, I stared at the half-naked young man, one finger pointing at a gently sloping rocky trail that wound around the majestic stone mountains of Montalban. Perhaps it was his cool indifference to my apparent confusion, or maybe he was just mocking me, that it was not without some trepidation, I picked up my bags and made my way upwards, not fully knowing what awaited me at the end of the trail.

I realize it says something about me, that, having lived all my life in Montalban, I have not visited the Wawa Dam except for that long lost time in my childhood when, as my mother recounts for me, we spent the day there in the company of family and friends. I have always been an urban rat, preferring the security and relative safety of huge metropolitan centers like Makati or Ortigas, in comparison to the disorder of fierce Mother Nature. So when my editors informed me of the planned shoot in Montalban, I was apprehensive. There was a slight interest, yes, but there was also fear. Nature and I just don’t mix, or at least I didn’t think so. Days later, the childhood memory again slightly taking form in the recesses of my mind, I guess it is not without some irony that I find myself climbing up the dirt road towards the great white wall residents call the Montalban Falls of Wawa Dam.

It was hot, and the summer sun was beating down hard on my skin. I was contemplating the merits of that wonderful invention known as sunscreen when I took a short turn, and came face to face with what was one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen.

The waterfalls cascading down the rough walls of the dam created a beautiful backdrop to the scenery before me. Above it was the clear blue summer sky, cloudless and infinite. Beside it were two stone mountains, gray with spots of green, immutable and strong. The dam itself was punctuated at the side by an ancient tower that offered a frame to the beauty before me. I was speechless. How could something so beautiful escape from my memories so easily?

I walked on, my eyes trying to capture as much as it possibly could. Huge chalky white boulders, which were marble as someone informed me later, dotted the landscape. Quaint small huts, placed strategically at different points in the place, offered some shelter for the common tourist. The water, flowing downwards from the dam, covered most of the spaces until it stopped short of several meters from the small village at the foot of the mountain.

A few minutes later, I came across an interesting card which simply stated “Paa ni Bernardo Carpio” with a small arrow pointing left underneath. Staring at the direction of the arrow, and boosted by a very fertile imagination, I guess the small body of water below the trail could maybe pass off as a print of a footstep of the mythological giant.

By the time I got to the shoot, the models were already aboard a small bamboo raft, gamely posing with the horn and trombone. Gianna was particularly luminous, her small frame clad in the pure white fabric studded with Swarovski crystals. The interplay of the modern sensibility in the clothes contrasted quite nicely with the raw imagery provided by the water and the mountains. It was breathtaking.

By lunchtime, the models found themselves on top of the old 40ft tower by the waterfalls. The four guys were teasing each other, trying to trick the other into jumping towards the green crystalline waters below. Then a white flash that seemed to come from nowhere and a loud splash. I quickly ran to see who jumped. It was Gianna, quite brave, wet and laughing, glad to show the guys a thing or two about fearlessness. Needless to say, the guys soon felt the need to jump and followed soon after.

When all the proper elements are in place, there is something about nature that allows us to connect to some stronger energy, some higher power that can give us strength and allow us to see more of who we are. Perhaps it is the rawness, the potency, the primordial power it represents, or perhaps it is something else entirely. Considering the amount of work each person had to put into that photo shoot, the fact that we never bit each other’s head off was nothing short of a miracle. Nature is a healer, definitely, and gifts us with a powerful connection, both to ourselves and to each other.

It was with some heaviness that I waited for the day to end. It ended well, the sky bursting into a multitude of brilliant colors, still cloudless, still infinite. We packed our bags and made our way downwards. There was a strong wind, and then a soft whistling. I looked around for the source of the sound and realized it was coming from the mountains, as the wind blew through its caves. I heard a tinge of sadness, weak but definitely there, and it was beautiful.

*An old article published in a now defunct travel magazine.

32 comments:

  1. Great Post, so true :)

    Nature seems to be the only thing we can turn to sometimes, because it is almost the only thing that we can depend completely and rely on, that everything will keep moving, the sun WILL rise, and everything goes, unlike our own lives

    xxx

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  2. there are times when we find ourselves lost.. lost in world of our own, lost in somebody else's world that we dont know which way to go, and sometimes in this crazy times, we find ourselves at peace through Nature's healing.. and then, we find our way, we find the right path, we find ourselves...

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  3. totally agreed. Nature is a healer and holds something divine in store, which perhaps leads to beautiful things to happen.

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  4. i agree and what a nicely written post. i absolutely love nature. even when i was young, i treasure the long, quiet hours i'd spent just staring at the rice fields surrounding our house. it was so soothing and relaxing.

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  5. Fickle Cattle,
    Thanks For coming by A Camp Host Housewife's Meanderings and leaving a comment. I appreciate your support! I look forward to following your blog!

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  6. Beautifully written. You captured the awe of nature.

    I'm a city girl by birth but I find communing with nature is, as you said, healing. I think it actually makes us more aware of our humanity and our little place in the universe. Humbling but in a good way. Loved this:)

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  7. Awesome post. I find myself going up into the mountains, well when they are not on fire, and just sit by the creek or by the lake. Nature is awesome. Thank you for the post.

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  8. mmm, nice post! Something magical happens when one pauses to consider how beautiful the earth really is. The sun, rivers, mountains...

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  9. even if i've lived in nearby san mateo intermittently, i've never really explored montalban. was never aware of wawa dam.

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  10. Beautiful, indeed.

    I like the idea that nature is a healer and that it embraces you whenever you need to be embraced, passively listening to the sound of a lonely heart.

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  11. @everyone: Thanks for the comments guys. I'm glad you all agreed.

    @fortuitous: Really? You lived in San Mateo? Very interesting.

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  12. Beautiful post. You have captured the heart and truth of nature.

    p.s. I’m running a competition this week. If you get time, pop along and have a look.

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  13. I love nature just as much as I loved this post (a lot). This was beautiful, absolutely lovely.

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  14. oh Montalban, I was there last week, visited Anawim.

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  15. I dropped by your experiment blog. That's a great way to try different themes, etc. I'm wondering why I didn't think of that. Cool.

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  16. thanks for your lovely comment! i love your blog as well- great writing! :)
    page

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  17. Aw I love this article. I feel like because I'm so "girly" and dress up all the time, people assume I have no interest in the outdoors, but I'm such a nature girl!! Dressing up is just a hobby, but the outdoors is who I am:)

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  18. that waterfalls is so nice! and so close to metro manila! i want to go there!

    you're right, there's something about nature that makes us feel connected to something higher than us. that's how i feel at times...that's why i love basking in nature. thanks for dropping by!

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  19. Thanks for visiting my blog. I've been in Wawa Dam when I was little where I was told the story of Bernardo Carpio. I actually thought he was for real for a while.

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  20. Thanks for the visit.

    You're a great storyteller and you have a great site here =)

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  21. I agree about nature. This is both true and beautifully written.

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  22. Hey,
    Thanks for the blog comment. Hoping my blog post may have been an influence on realizing the nbeauty of nature! Oh how I love it!

    Loving the last two paragraphs you have here. Interesting post. :)

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  23. What a wonderful post. Nature is truly a beautiful thing.

    Thankyou for your nice comment. Sorry it took me awhile to get back to you. You have a lovely blog. Will be visiting often.

    xx Carina

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  24. I went cliff jumping this summer for the first time!

    My best friend and I spent the whole afternoon working up the gall, then finally jumped in together.

    Ahhhh so great! :-D And so metaphorical...

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  25. wow.. naturally orgasmic..
    made me want to go out of town..

    ^_^

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  26. @everyone: Thanks! I love reading all of your comments. :-) And I'm happy you enjoyed this post.

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