One of the most treasured memories I have from when I was a little boy of eight or nine was when my grandmother would take me across the street from where we lived to Roxas Boulevard to take a stroll. That would be always be the highlight of my day.
Manila Bay at that time had just begun to get reclaimed, and if you knew where to find the makeshift bridges that connected the concrete promenade of the boulevard to the sand that had been poured into the ocean, you could run for miles through dunes and vast open fields.
My mother said that I would return from these strolls with my pockets full of shells that I had collected with the help of my grandmother. I would later take these shells, stick them together like pylons and place them on my window sill.
But that wasn't the best part.
What I enjoyed the most were the trees along the seafront. And like other little boys I would spend hours climbing and exploring each one like an adventurer on an expedition. The trees couldn't have been very tall, but when I climbed them and sat on their branches, I felt as though I was high up on a mountain staring out into creation for as far as my little eyes could see.
I remember how it seemed like the sun would play a game of tag as it sent bright shafts of light streaming through the leaves of the swaying branches to chase after shadows and make them disappear like magic. I remember how I loved the way the ocean breeze would tickle my ears, how it blew my hair and lent the wind a voice as it rustled through the trembling leaves.
And then my thoughts would wander to anything and everything that little boys daydream about.
As I look back to those idyllic afternoons of my childhood, taking strolls, picking up shells and climbing trees, I realize the bliss I experienced was something that I now know to be solitude-- those quiet moments that make you realize that your thoughts are more than enough to provide you with not just sufficient, but wonderful company.
Even now as a grown man, I am never more comfortable than when I am with my thoughts, enjoying the ease of never having to be anything else other than who I am.
Mind you, while I still yearn for solitude, I don't like being without my family. That would make me unhappy.
What I thrive on are the things that quiet down the noise that life sometimes makes, and being with the people I love and make me feel loved. That is my solitude.
For those of you who like me, climbed trees when you were little and stayed there for what seemed like hours watching life go by while your grandmother waited patiently down below, I'm sure you understand.
Salvaged wood from Calatagan, treated, oiled, and sealed. Metal wire, resin, copper and champagne gold metal leaf, sealed with clear lacquer.
Signed at the base.
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