If only I had a camera then, I would have captured those beautiful and golden afternoons that I used to spend in my uncle’s house every summer.
In front of their house was a coconut tree, and under it a bamboo bench. Me, my brothers and my cousins and our friends often sat there facing the sparkling fishpond while our feet hang lazily underneath. On sunny afternoons, the coconut tree offered the perfect shade. It blocked the sunlight while letting a little bit of its rays hit our skin.
We sat there and shared lots of stories. With the warm breeze we laughed, giggled, and talked about anything under the sun! Me and Grace most specially, we could sit there all day and not run out of things to talk about: dreams, fears, future, life.
Sitting in the bench every morning meant watching some of our neighbors walked from their houses, then down the long unpaved path that leads to the main road. In a waiting shed they stood and waited for jeepneys to arrive and take them to work.
If only I had a camera then, I would have taken the photo of the beautiful sunset: The orange skies against the green grass , and the wide, wide rice field which stretched in front of the house up to the main road. The vehicles that were passing that main road seemed small from where we stood in the front house. As the sun began to set, we would see the same people we saw earlier in the morning as they walked down the unpaved path again all eager to go home and looking weary from a full day of work.
The rice field was quite a scenery too. In the cooler months, it looked pretty with the combination of green and brown stalks growing on its bed. They were tall and seemed to dance lazily as the wind swept them in one direction. During summer, the field turned into a big and dry space filled with hay. It was the perfect platform to do cartwheels, tumbling and rough play. One rainy season , the rice field seemed like a river, we loaded up in a small wooden canoe and paddled under the sunny skies. Our shrieks and giggles could be heard in the air. That was one nasty typhoon though, it left the house half submerged in water for several weeks.
Thinking of that scenario, the bamboo bench, the fish pond , the coconut tree, rice fields, the sunrise and sunset, it was very lovely. Very perfect. Only I didn’t realize it then. Maybe I even had a camera , but to me , everything looked ordinary and familiar. They were something I see everyday and taking photos of them was pointless. But how wrong! I was surrounded by beauty all around and did not recognize it, and now it is something I miss, something I want to see, even just through photos.
I will be happy to spend time under that tree again with friends and family and share the same old stories and laugh over the same jokes.
Even for just one day,
or for one sunrise,
or one sunset.
I will be sure to snap a photo or two. Just for keeps.