BENEATH the dirt, sand, and mud where the parents conceal their eggs comes also the act of burying all hopes of ever seeing their young once again. The parents head back into the ocean, refusing to look back as they trust the cycle of life to be set in motion.

The hatchlings are invited to challenge nature’s call. Weightless in their wake, they allow their frail new bodies to be drawn to the shore. They strive to seek refuge from the sunlight by submerging in the creases of the ocean.

Each newborn turtle recognizes the role played by the ocean – it provides the breath of life, relieving them off the land’s demise. When a cluster of them begin trotting over the coast, they have already begun exposing themselves to the dangers outside their shells, and only a handful of them manage to get by and live to tell the tale.

Something aged and mundane sweeps the shores and barricades their paths. The rise of plastic came in packs and conquered their lands. The higher mammals – humans – have pioneered their existence. As a result, the turtles’ hatching routine has never been the same ever since.

They now tread on ash that was once thought of as fleeting grains of sand. In soot and grime, the hatchlings choked; the few of them that remain alive would have even lesser chances of survival.

It would be quite a miracle for even a single one of them to arrive at sea. F JOSE ANDRE G. ASUNCION

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