sight of the blue skies fills you with joy,
if the simple things of nature have a message
that you understand, rejoice,
for your soul is alive."
- Eleonora Duse
childhood days were quite different from the
life my children and I now live. My lost paradise
is thousands of miles away from America, located
in the Philippines, my beloved native land.
This beautiful country of 7,107 islands was
a Spanish colony in 16th century and ceded to
the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American
War. Little did I know that this barefooted
child would one day leave what I thought was
my lost paradise.
As a child, I played barefooted
with tiny creatures in their natural habitat.
My dainty, dirty hands swept the spiders from
their cobwebs they had spun perfectly in the
bushes. My wonder child would ask, “How
can the spider weave this beautiful cobweb?”
My curious, innocent being would invade its
world and explore how the spiders would act
and behave when imprisoned from its webbed world.
I was tickled as I placed the spiders inside
a matchbox. My eyes twinkled with innocent laughter
as I watched them escape from the box onto a
twig where they would hang on for their lives
while spinning a sticky web. Then I would put
them back in the bushes in their original place
so I could come back to find them later. In
addition to the spiders, I would play with frogs
that would jump up and down the flooded streets
after a rainy day.
Dragonflies were my friends
as well. I artfully mastered how to use them
to prick the neighborhood bullies who said nasty
things about me. Butterflies were my childhood
fantasy. I was in awe as I watched their transformation
from caterpillars into beautiful butterflies.
“How did they do that?” I asked
myself. One day it was a green, yucky, scary
thing crawling onto the twig – and the
next time it was brown with a cocoon opening
like a very thin decaying leaf, then it became
an absolutely colorful and fascinating flying
creature. It was my dream that one day I would
become a butterfly!
... (Read the book for several paragraphs more...)
God’s creatures and simplest
pleasures were what mattered most in my childhood.
Though there were times my parents were not
with me as a child, those who took care of me
kept my barefooted childhood grounded, and they
kept me laughing, smiling and strong.
The beautiful nature and calm
water that soothed my young spirit became my
refuge and my joy. Welcome to my lost paradise!