It is not without reason that those who have tasted the pleasure of waking up early, Mother Nature has lavished upon them eulogiums.
Benefits produced of being an early riser are too many to enumerate, valuable beyond estimation and various as the scenes of human life.
It may be a trite observation, but it is at the same time a true one, that there is neither waste nor ruin in greeting Mother Nature very early in the morning.
We go to malls, the stores, to the markets to the imposing edifices constructed in Baguio City and La Trinidad and we wonder at their contents; that La Trinidad and Baguio residents should be so formed as to understand and construct these things is the grand marvel.
And comparing these with the labors of others, they are unrivalled under any circumstance. But when we compare these processes and other productions with those of Mother Nature, they are really nothing in comparison.
But the blade of grass on which we tread, the worm on which we trample or the fly that annoys us with buzzing sound and its tickling proboscis, is infinitely more curious, far more fraught with information than all the museums of art that ever were collected.
So, it was that early morning, about 5 o’clock AM last Sunday, when Daily Laborer spotted the lad ( he estimated the lad’s age to be around ten years old or more) at Rose Garden, Baguio City, as the kid gazed intently on a clump of leaves of the flower plants abounding there.
The kid was with his mother. By the intonation of the way she conversed with her child, Daily Laborer reckoned she hailed from the highlands. But he could have been mistaken.
Keenly intent on what the child was gazing took the fancy of Daily Laborer to go near the mother and child, greeted the mother a “good morning,” and was rewarded with a smile and a ‘good morning, too.”
“Anya ti kit-kitaen diay anak mo dita da sab-sabong?” Daily Laborer asked the mother. The mother smiled again, shrugged her shoulders and said, “Baka adda nag-kainteresan na!”
Daily Laborer tip-toed besides the boy, peered also into the leaves but saw nothing in particular. Except for a caterpillar on a petal of a flower, he saw nothing to even interest nothing.
The boy glanced at Daily Laborer then brought his attention back at the caterpillar trying to crawl into another petal where there was another caterpillar.
And this was the time the boy spoke, explained his feelings complete with his fertile imagination. Daily laborer will try to capture in as best he can what the child told him that Sunday morning as both peered into the leaves.
“Kita-em, Uncle,” the boy was even respectful, saying uncle to daily Laborer,” kayat nga mapan diay caterpillar idiay sabong nga ayan ti maysa a caterpillar, ngem madi kayat diay caterpillar nga adda idiay maysa nga sabong!”
In Ilocano, the boy explained the intruder- caterpillar was crossly accosted by the other caterpillar in residence at the other convenient and inviting petal.
This was how the boy’s fertile mind caught the scene between the two warring caterpillars in the best way Daily laborer can express it to readers: “I own the petal you are attempting to take as food. But in trying to pass from your petal to my petal, consider the height you may fall and the death you are to suffer. And in considering your loss, you will never become a butterfly. Never.”
Daily laborer straightened up from where he stooped with the boy and shook hands with the boy in the closed-fist handshake of today.
Friends, how often do we look down from an advantageous promontory, upon the different mortal ages that appear before us –upon cheeks painted with the rosy bloom of childhood – and lips redolent with the fragrance of summer, when we contrast them with the corrugated lineaments and summer-sprinkled temples of age, and our minds labor with hesitant comparison.
We contrast the full veins and fair-molded features of childhood with the thin and shriveled aspect of our declining years and we liken them to scenes merely the imagination of children gone wild.
But in our better days, remember, we experienced the pleasant land of youth in a fairy boat; the sunshine laughed with us upon our colors, the sweet wind refreshed our nostrils from the flowery mountains, the sky smiled above us and a tract of golden brightness seemed to herald our every way.
Daily Laborer looked at the child’s mother who looked at her son and said, “Ay, sorry sir, pasensiya em mon ti anak ko nu anya man ti kunkuna.”
Daily Laborer smiled kindly at the mother and said, “Ma’am, your child spoke for something that we, as adults, seemed to have lost, which is our childhood touch. I would like to thank your child for bringing us back to look at things the way our childhood’s wisdom looked at things – and become better persons.”
The mother understood, and nodded wistfully. She held the hand of her child and said, “Thank you sir, for believing in my child.” And Daily Laborer answered, “I stand for your child, for his belief, Ma’am!”
And they waved friendly farewell to Daily Laborer. Before they left, the child turned back and said, “Goodbye my friend caterpillar, goodbye flowers, good bye uncle!” (Referring to Daily Laborer).
Whether it was his imagination, Daily laborer could not exactly say, but as he looked at the backs of the mother and child receding from Rose Garden, a tune came wafting back to him, carried by the Baguio winds, the melody owned by the late John Denver, of which the words went like this: “. . . And you wonder where we’re going, where’s the rhyme and where’s the reason is; and it’s you who cannot accept, it is here we must begin, to seek the wisdom of the children, and the graceful way of flowers in the wind. . .”
“. . . for the children and the flowers, are my sisters and my brothers, their laughter and their loveliness could clear a cloudy day; and the song that I am singing is a prayer for non-believers, come and stand besides us, we can find a better way. . .”
Daily Laborer exited Rose Garden, winded up his week-end walk at Bokawkan Road or Buhagan Road. He merely detoured to Rose Garden where, by chance, where met the boy and the mother, named Agora Saavedra, who revealed during their conversation she was a teacher, by calling.
Daily Laborer started his early Sunday walk along Magsaysay Road. At Bokawkan Road, he paused to look at the imposing Benguet Pine trees (scientifically known Pinus insulares) growing along Bokawkan. By the freshness of their barks, and vigor of their shoots, they gained upon the clouds by swift advances.
And he spotted other early risers, too, coming up Bokawkan Road. It was good feeling seeing these early risers heading towards their destinations and made Daily laborer blurt to himself, “Aye, good fellows these Baguio residents, for these early birds catch the worm.”
As he surveyed the rustic scene, a group of young and pretty ladies, passed along the pedestrian lane near where he stood. They were in sports jerseys and Daily Laborer presumed they were out for morning exercise. They looked up where Daily Laborer was. They all wore face masks.
Suddenly one of the ladies who looked up stared hard at Daily Laborer, yanked off the face mask covering the lower part of her face then said, “Hoy, manong Bony, apay kasla ka pimpiman nga maymaysa a nakatakder dita dita a?”
Daily Laborer squinted at the lady who spoke and recognized she was Dana Selikan, from Trancoville barangay, and a seller of food goods.
Daily Laborer explained he had just finished his walk while the ladies said they were just starting their walk when they spotted him.
In the midst of the friendly banter, Selikan revealed that while walking they were just discussing the topic about matrimony. Hearing this, Daily Laborer harrumphed to himself and snorted, “Give it to the women, for they are experts on this specific topic.”
Seeing Daily Laborer uncomfortable with the topic, Selikan smiled very wickedly and pestered Daily Laborer by saying, “Anya ti inbagam, Bony, awan ti ammom panggep ti topiko a matrimony?”
Daily Laborer answered, “Awan, awan ti ammok panggep iti matrimony. Ag-agsapa, dayta ti pag-is-istoryaan yu habang magmagna kayo. Apay awan la sabali nga pag-istoryaan yu?”
The young ladies cackled like old women in spiteful glee and cajoled Daily Laborer on his opinion about matrimony. But Daily laborer refused to be lured by their taunts.
For he believed matrimony too burdensome a topic for him that even the most daring cannot but approach it with caution or misgiving.
So he told the jogging ladies that in order to demonstrate with caution about the topic, he shall begin before the beginning, and end, so to speak, before he has begun. Which sent the ladies to further shrieking, saying, “Ha! Bony, this is one topic you are so afraid to write in your column!”