My Morning Calm (weekly photo challenge: Silence)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2018/01/17/silence-2/

One of the things I always look forward to whenever I visit my hometown is the early morning walk that leads to this river on a mountain. It is a breathtaking retreat from a busy life miles away. The silence is beautifully broken by the steady flow of the water which brings about a certain calmness to the mind and readiness to face a new day.

One Day. Two Stories. ‘Bernie’

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someone else’s lucky day


The weather may be muggy today but it’s tempting not to stay indoors. So I decided to drive around and take photos of the town where I’ve lived for the last 13 years. Then I met Bernie. This is his story.

My stopover was in a park with a large pond near my home. It must have been my lucky day! I just spotted a pair of swans frolicking in the water. What a good photo that would make!

Then I noticed that it was also someone else’s lucky day. He was not only clicking away with a camera slung around his neck but seemed to be chatting with the swans, too. Interesting!

 

As I approached nearer, I found the man feeding the swans and their cygnets with grass. Sensing my curiosity he explained, “They do eat grass but not any kind. They must be hand-cut and I’ve just given them dandelions. Try feeding them with that (pointing to the grass on the ground) and they will only spit it out.”

Here’s more: he must have read my mind. “The colour of the beak of the male is dark orange. The female beak is also orange but lighter.

They used to have nine cygnets. One of them died and the other got injured so it  was taken away.”

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Suddenly, the female swan (now I know) came closer to him. “Okay, you’re still hungry. Here’s some bread.”

I thought, “Oh wow, carbs and veg, good for you swan.”

“I come here everyday”, he continued. I guess my face looks familiar to them. But I would not mess with them during the mating season. The male, especially, can become aggressive. “He hit my hand with his wing once and it put me out of action for four days!”

He then pointed to a heron perched on the concrete in the middle of the pond.

heron ready for take-off

He got amused with the coots trying to grab their share of the bread. He threw in some more. I thought, “carbs and veg, good for you, ducks!”

Finally, I found the chance to ask him his name. ‘Bernie’.

Bernie is an amiable old man. (Even the wild swans took to him, right?) The lines on his face reflect a happy human being.

Not only did he impart valuable ‘swan wisdom’ but also taught me how to identify the variety of birds residing in the pond. More importantly, Bernie gave my photos more meaning.

I have been to this pond several times but today was a chance encounter with a man who has a genuinely good heart. Indeed this was a lucky day!  I know I will see Bernie again one of these days. I drove away with a smile.

Here is The second story in one day.

The Boy at the Beach

By the sea

I live and breathe

With the waves

I play and seek

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Keypads, the tube and minecraft

I need not

The raft, an oar and nature

My furlough, my solace

This corner of the world, I reign

I cruise, fearless and happy

In this home I own.

Judge me not, you see

My life is not less

but beautiful and free!

(Photo credits: dehl)
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Hometown Fortress (Dakiwagan: Up Close and Personal)

early morning panorama
a majestic magnificence

I’ve been hesitant about sharing this one other wonder of nature. I guess I’ve seen enough of what happens when some individuals exploit the very thing they admire. I prefer that the world remains oblivious to its existence. Nevertheless, let me put my negativity aside and find the right words to justify such beauty and splendour.

Dakiwagan mountain looms majestically over a tight-knit Kankanaey community of Balakbak, Kapangan, Benguet, Philippines.

There was a time when I have braved the cold, almost frosty mornings to trek to that opposite hill and capture a stunning scene of clouds which to me, seemed to have descended from the sky to kiss and tame Dakiwagan’s gargantuan frame. I have lingered long enough to watch the same clouds dissipate, while the sun maneuvered its way to envelope and waken a slumbering gigantic rock! A priceless panorama!

sun envelopes a giant!

Dakiwagan is like an enormous mural on someone’s wall. It is the neighborhood’s awesome backdrop and at daytime, it appears to be keeping watch as the folks go about their daily routine wherever they may be; at home, the hills, the farm or the ricefields. I have wandered around this humble hometown of mine with the view of the mountain always visible at every turn.
As the day draws to a close, it gets engulfed in darkness and at first glance, becomes ominous. I have always accorded it a second look and my heart comfortably likened it to a fortress that shelters its people through the night.

Faces keeping watch
fortress through the night

I feel blessed that this magnificence is a part and parcel of my childhood. I took it for granted for a long time. But with more and more people exploring further than the common tourist spots, I now feel very protective of this hidden gem.

Photo credits: dehl/rizza