A blinding flash of lightning, a blaring stroke of thunder, ripping the skies apart… the heavens cry out and it begins to rain.

I can still remember how I used to crawl into my parent’s bed after I saw that shocking flash of lightning followed by the roaring sound of thunder. In that frightful moment, I would cover my ears and shut my eyes, yet I still hear and feel the veracity of such a natural phenomena. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the lightning and thunder tandem. I’m awed by it so much that it’s even gained my respect. I treat it as if it were a spirited shout from a voice from the heavens, of joyful songs of cherubs and seraphims, of trumpets, of the majesty of creation. Beautiful yet frightful. Lovely yet fatal.

I usually walk when I go to meetings or some other affair. And when I walk, I see the majestic trees swaying gracefully with the wind, the cattle and sheep feeding on fresh, green grass, ants along in a line, the panorama of stars at night, the great mountains of Antipolo overlooking our small town… So beautiful that words do injustice. No words can ever describe the modest beauty of which He has created everything. All of it, the stars, the trees, the birds, the skies, the earth I tread upon, all of it’s just so beautiful, created with such delicate precision, with such skill and with such simplicity… Yet, as I walk on, I see rivers smothered to death by rubbish of all sorts, cigarette butts lying along the sidewalk, roadkill, still fresh, on the street, vehicles kicking up grit and puffing out their fumes, chained dogs… a familiar scene, is it not?

I’m no radical environmentalist, and I don’t need a doctral degree to see and predict what will happen if this keeps going on. In this small town where I live, urbanization and commercialization has begun to creep in slowly, a poison slowly killing the future. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees what’s going on, I know you do, dear reader. Do you remember that once pristine river we used to play in? The place where we could fish and drink the virgin waters, our refuge whenever we had problems? Our sanctuary, our hiding place under the mango tree? It’s gone. The river’s been riddled with disease and death, the flowerbeds have since been replaced by slums, the old mango tree we used to climb and pick those sweet mangoes is gone. I’ve seen these things happen, and I feel a part of me has been violated, has been betrayed.

I once saw a sign while going to lab class that reads: “We don’t inherit the earth; we borrow it from our children.” True, this world is not mine to keep, nor is it anyone’s property. Really, who can own the world with a piece of paper, with titles, with deeds? I want my children to learn how to climb trees as I did, how to lie down on the grass and fall to sleep, how to catch butterflies with a makeshift net, how to fish using a bamboo pole with a slug as a bait. But I fear that they may not be as fortunate as I was to be given a moment to live as one with the earth. I can still remember the nights when my parents told us of stories from their youth, at how so much has changed and how much it is changing still.

I’m not proposing a radical revolution to change the world. In truth, I just want to change who I am. I want a home for my children, for the ones I love. Who knows, maybe in the future, there’d be no trees, no grass nor flowers, no birds nor rivers, and when we tell our children about it, would they believe that He did create such beautiful masterpieces? On the other hand, we can make them see for themselves and experience it firsthand. I’m a young man, and I’ve always dreamed of conquering the world. But alas, I cannot even conquer myself. So I change myself for th benefit of all, for His great plans…

I know you’ve heard how natural calamities kill millions a year, how disaster strikes unpredictably, how danger lurks in every corner, how disease spreads and evolves into pandemics, how beasts can fight back… How nature can fight back… Mother Nature loves us. If it withheld the air we breathe, could we even live for a moment? No, it does not withhold its blessings, for if it is not selfish to the beasts of the earth, the birds of the air and the fishes of the sea, how much more to us, who were given dominion over them? Unfortunately, we’ve been too wrapped up in all our work, on our desires, on ourselves that we’ve forgotten about the Earth. Just take a walk as I do. Look around, see for yourself what we have done to ourselves.

How can you love? Show it.

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