Sunday, November 17

Lady of the Forest

photo by MARLOU JOSEPH M. BON-AO/ THE FLAME

THE path to the bamboo forest was strewn with junk left by careless and ignorant travelers. I treaded carefully, the leaves and stones getting crushed beneath my feet. I avoid the chaos left in its wake.

The bamboo towered over me like city skyscrapers. “Tabi-tabi po” I murmured, as the wind whistled against my face, pushing me at a standstill. It died down and I saw a light before me. I cautiously crept toward it. The luminescence was from a woman who sat in the middle of the clearing, her back facing me. Her dress was white as clouds and its sheen cascaded down her shoulders to her ankles. Her hair was as dark as night, and as long as the rivers that coursed through the forest. Her beauty was unparalleled.

Slowly, she stood up and strode around, looking up to the bamboo then on the littered earth.

Beneath her every step, flowers grew. The trail she left behind could almost be a garden, but the plastic and wrappers were an eyesore. The wind picked up and the rubbish danced along with it.

She turned and looked at me. Her eyes held a million secrets. She bore a heartbreaking smile but her face seemed to ask, “Is this the nature of man, my child?” I took a step. I stared at her figure and blinked.

She was gone.

I was alone in the clearing, in the midst of man’s debris. F DJULIENNE FLOR V. FOSTER

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