BETWEEN FRIENDS: Dialogue with creation PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 11:21


An elementary poem I love and still remember from the beginning to end entitled All Things Bright and Beautiful, extol the beauties of nature from flowers, birds, trees to mountains, sunsets and rivers and gives credit to Almighty God for all these gifts. Without actually saying it, the poem quietly invites the reader to appreciate and love the beauties of nature.
Today, we talk of dialogue – a manner of oral communication for the purpose of exchanging ideas, for clarifying to understand what seems to be the source of conflict and for ironing out tricky and unacceptable arguments. But when we talk of dialogue with creation, we don’t mean talking to the rocks, the trees, the moon and the stars.  Appreciating the beauty of the wild flowers, enjoying the view of the sea and experiencing joy in the sight of corn fields loaded with grain, and crystal clear rivers is dialogue enough with creation.
I admit I have always been a sentimental fool when it comes to the beauties of nature. I caught butterflies, grasshoppers and dragonflies when I was a kid so I could hold them in my hand and watch them flap their wings. I threw stones at birds to make them fall so I could take them home and play with them.  And I held up one side of my mosquito net every night to entice the fireflies to come in because I believed their lanterns would light up my way to dreamland.  And yes, I competed with the neighborhood kids in climbing the tall manzanitas tree at the back of our house because I loved to eat its delicious “little red apples”.
The international conference on peace that I attended in Cotabato City June 6-7, 2014, sponsored by Sant’ Egidio (Italy), Muhammadiya (Indonesia), and the Archdiocese of Cotabato, and the participation of the European Union, gave me one of those rare occasions where dialogue with creation was made possible for more than 10 hours bus trip each way.  So I made sure I got a window seat.  I have always been a window sitter, even on airplanes, because window seats always give a vantage view of the world going by whether you’re traveling on air or land.
The last time I was on a long land trip was sometime in the early 70’s when my elder brother was assigned in Cagayan de Oro and had asked me to visit him and family.  As usual, I took a window seat and I remember I couldn’t take my eyes off, among other beautiful sights, the flat topped green mountains of Bukidnon which struck me as so unusual since mountains, to me, were always supposed to end with pointed tops.
On this trip to Cotabato, I visually feasted on several mini terraced rice fields, perhaps a vain attempt to imitate the ifugao rice terraces, but beautiful anyway.  Deep canyons cradled clear clean rivers.  Towering blue green mountains stood elegantly in the distance, and huge boulders lined some parts of the roads making me wonder if these were spewed up by erupting volcanoes millions of years ago.
Along the way we came upon progressive towns with some little houses precariously perched on the edge of cliffs, and chapels on top of little hills.  Wild sunflowers bloomed on the roadsides and I spotted several varieties of colorful Corazon de Maria (Gabi-gabi) and wished I could restore a former collection of 19 varieties which I sadly gave away before I left for Manila and Cambodia.  Somewhere in Maguindanao we passed by a house with a rare gumamela bush robust with pink leaves and red flowers!  The sight was so incredible I haven’t been able to get it out of mind up to now.
Another unforgettable sight was a house with the complete varieties of the Doña Aurora – white, light pink, dark pink, and very dark red.  The first time I saw the very dark red variety was in Cambodia when I went there for a teaching stint at Norton University from 2011-2013.
If there was anything more achieved by the Cotabato international conference on Peace beyond the camaraderie of  friendship and sharing of ideas on how to foster and nurture love and harmony with the other peoples of the world, definitely it is the peace that settles upon the spirit through the communion with God’s creation.