I searched for the perfect flat stone, one shaped like a flying saucer, among the sand pebbles near the small blue pond. Thrown with a small sidewise motion, the stone left my thumb and second finger, and guided by my index finger, traveled on top and bounced as many times until the stone lost its' velocity. It is just an old country boy game without a name where joy is measured by the number of times the stone skips. I discovered early that I was not blessed with the strength needed to be the best in the game. I learned as I grew up that there was much more to life. I had practiced a lot to get the hang of it. This taught me to search for the perfect stone suited to my weakness and to throw at a perfect time when the wind would not break the surface of the silent pond. Time passed as stone after stone sank at every pitch. If I could see my reflection in the pond I would adjust it to the poise of Lefty Briones, Viray, or Mariquit on the sport's page of my time. I had to look for a new stone over time. I could have been a major league pitcher if perseverance was the only tool required of a rising fast ball.
A great feeling overcame me when most of my attempts finally began crossing the length of the small pond to the other side. By then I could not count the number of bounces across the water. It did not matter since I was usually by myself. I just had to put my head up and look around me. The mountains surrounded me. I was in the middle of the valley and the surrounding mountains were all blue.
I learned later that they were green rain forests. Because of the distance, they appeared as blue as the sky and ocean. They were the witnesses to my boyhood. They kept score of my perseverance rather than my triumphs. The Sierra Madre mountain range was my favorite, It is the farthest and located in the East hiding the great blue yonder, the Pacific Ocean . I wanted to climb on top of the mountain and let my dreams bring me across the ocean to the other side that they call "blue seal" country . The name Sierra Madre reminded of when my mother would be calling me. I never made it on top of the mountain but I did earn the right of passage to America. I crossed the Pacific Ocean many more times.
As I went back and re-visited my boyhood place my silent scoreboards were gradually losing their color. The rain forests are almost gone now. The mountains are there but almost bare. They are still too distant to echo the dreams meandered on the pond. I meet these giant trucks hauling timbers south-bound to Manila. Their destinations are Japan, United States and countries that perhaps for self preservation do not want to cut down their own trees. And perhaps saddest of all, the pond was no longer there, just dry sand pebbles.
I feel helpless as the tiny ugly leftover pebbles can not participate in my game. The nude mountains are now unable to shed tears because they are drying as I am. The fast pulsating blue neon jungle in America has made me drain any emotion that is left in me. I am mostly away now. I am aging as my head is slowly losing its cover but those mountains should not. They have to bear witness to the next boy dreamer.
The soaring eagles from Siera Madre are also gone Rainforest of the Philippines
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