Nothing compares to the fresh mountain air.

 

In these pages, I shall tell stories.

All I wanted to be when I was young was to be a storyteller. With a knapsack that contains my life’s treasures, I imagined myself traversing mountains and crossing rivers to reach faraway villages, where I would sit under a tree and tell stories to anyone willing to lend me an ear. I will live by the fruits of the forests, the blessings of the water creatures, and the generosity of strangers. I shall not stop until all the stories that the spirits bestow on me as inheritance will be planted as memories in the minds and hearts of the young and old. My last breath would be the climax of a tale about birth.

But the mountains went bald, the forests trees became logs, the rivers that I love so dearly contain mine tailings that kill  their abundance, and the villages are all but abandoned for the promise of a better life in the cities and municipalities. There are no more trees to sit under, and so my  dream simply drifted away.

But the stories remain alive. They live in me. Sometimes, I live in them. There were times when I allow my stories to speak in my behalf; as there were times when I transported my friends and colleagues, whom I trust, to the magical world where my stories reign.

I must admit there were moments when I gave in to the temptation of living in the boundaries between the real world and the one narrated by my stories. Oftentimes, they bear a strong semblance  with each other; they only differ in a singular truth: in my stories, redemption is a guarantee, in the real world, it remains a dilemma.

But I never crossed over, knowing fully well that by doing so, the stories would feel betrayed. And they would abandon me alone in the space that would become my purgatory.

But I am growing older now, and I don’t have the luxury of time, because the stories have become stronger than my will.

Life has been a blessing. No regrets, and if given the chance, I will choose this life again.

 

I have sought the sunshine and dwelt in the shadows of my interior landscape.

I have had power and I have surrendered to powerlessness.

I have experienced a period of abundance, in the same way that I embraced a long period emptiness.

I have my fifteen minutes of fame; and longer hours of infamy and controversy.

I have succumbed to the temptations of lust and pleasures, and I have offered my sacrifices to the altars of purity.

It is time to accept what I have been denying all my life: my stories will redeem me. And, if blessed by the spirits, my stories will redeem those around me.

So, I decided to tell stories once again. There are no more trees to sit under, but there is a blog page  where I can hang the threads of a narrative.

 

I will write about the Del Monte of the past. Those times when the Americans sponsor a drive-in movie in the plaza. Those Christmases where a masquerade ball brought all camp residents together. Those high school days when Holy Crossians were the brightest in the whole province. Those Jesuit days in the parish when all people served Fr. Moggi spaghetti every day. Those days when there were yellow personnel hauls and yellower school buses.

I will tell those stories so that nobody will forget that this mountain camp is the cradle of a special form of community living that is never replicated.

 

 

 

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