Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Search for Paradise

As I placed one foot forward, the dried leaves crunched underneath the soles of my rubber shoes.

I was kinda lost.

I checked my compass for the umpteenth time, assuring I'd been heading north. 

I looked up, searching for the sun. T'was there, hiding behind the branches and leaves of surrounding tall trees. Some ray met my eyes and it hurt. I looked away and thought I'd rather get hurt by light than stumble and wound myself in darkness. 

I pushed the shoulder straps of my backpack, pressing it tightly on my back. Then I moved forward. 

It was my first time to travel alone. I'd no one to lean on, just myself and maybe, the trees. 

Though forest trees looked all the same, I knew that each tree has a unique groove. I thought of them as the most competitive and most graceful dancing creatures long time ago. However, one day in a huge disco room, God dared them to play stop dance. For some reason, He stopped the music for a very long time and left them steady on their places. Maybe, God knew that someone like me would travel alone in the woods. Maybe He wanted me to play the music in my mind and dance with the trees to reach my destiny. But the moment I get tired and stop dancing, I'd freeze like the trees and get lost. That was what had just happened, I guess.

The sun seemed to want to help me too. The sun was my friend. I walked with it each day. For as long as it was there, things were bright and clear. But the sun was very playful. Hide and seek was its favorite game. I did not mind seeking it every time, for that made me happy more than the sun thought.

My goal was to see the Promised land, as they called it. I had no idea how it looked like. They just told me t'was going to be a Paradise. I wanted to be in Paradise; no, I desired to be in Paradise. They advised me to always go north . . . no matter what.   

I didn't know how it all occurred, but in the next few minutes I found myself sliding on a slippery slope and bumping myself here and there to rocks, tree trunks and some sharp edgy branches. Wrong move. Loose foothold. Mud. Trap. No matter what that was, something apparently went really really wrong. Stupid. I realized t'was more painful to make a mistake in daylight when I could still see my path clearly. But it even hurt further to know that there was no one else to blame but myself.

I didn't know if I was still breathing. My stomach churned from the pull of gravity and fear and uncertainty. I couldn't locate where the painful body part was. I was too hurt; I just closed my eyes and held my body loose and free. I expected myself to worry because for sure, falling wouldn't lead me north. But only one thing reigned my mind - I wished I'd come out in one piece.

The next thing I knew, I was floating, half drenched in something wet and cold. A body of water, I thought. I could have panicked if not for the intense pain I was feeling. I didn't dare a move. Everything in me ached - my limbs, chest and head. Slowly, I opened my eyes.

I saw the sun. I saw my friend, ardent and dazzling on the vast blue sky just above me. This time, no tree leaves and branches blocked my sight. There were attractive clouds in fancy shapes around it, but the sun outshone their beauty. Its rays were outstretched like arms offering an embrace to each creature in the world. Its light was blinding yet calm and nourishing. Few birds came out to my view and played in the sky. They looked like touching the sun and teasing it to play with them. It was the most calming sight I'd ever seen. Suddenly, I forgot all about pain. I never thought my friend, sun, was that beautiful.

And then I remembered the Promised land. And the Paradise. "Am I lost? Will I ever reach it?" I almost blurted the words out in worry.

And in some kind of playback, I heard them telling me, "Always go north."