In 1983, my family moved from a rented apartment in Singalong to a small village in Las Piñas. The subdivision was not yet fully developed then, and there were only a few erected bungalows.
Ours still looked bare, with no concrete fence. At the back of the house grew a hedge of wild bushes, beyond which stretched a wide open rice field that led to a dry creek a stone’s throw away.
During summer, the wind would blow from the Alabang hills in the east. I would take my two little kids, 8 and 7 years old, and challenge them to a race across the parched paddies.
I think they enjoyed it more than I did, as they laughed at me for reaching the finish line, a row of cogon grass, a few seconds after they did.
They panted like tired dogs, and yet craved for more, although their mother was worried because they might get bitten by a snake.
We saw a fleet of dragonflies flying over the weeds. It was the first time my kids saw one, and it excited their curiosity. I told them that when I was young like them, the old folks used to say that when dragonflies appeared, rain would soon follow.
True enough, later, the first summer rain fell, and my little boy looked at me with a puzzled look. I couldn’t believe it either.
In the village, it rained frequently from June until September. When the heavy rains pelted the roofs, my children would scream and holler as they rushed out of the house to bathe in the downpour.
From the door, I would watch them stomp their feet on the clean paved street, shrieking like triumphant frogs. The boy wore his white Hanes brief, the skin of his back glistening in the silvery rain, utterly unmindful of the neighbors, who weren’t around anyway.
Watching them frolic in gay abandon in the rain, yelling at the sky, I wondered what they were thinking. Perhaps, they were wondering, like me, how the rain could pour like a benediction from heaven; and how, after the rain, the lush green vegetation would sprout from the wet soil….
After two years or so, the vacant rice field disappeared, as rows of newly built bungalows rose, surrounded by good, good fences.
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Mariano F. Carpio, 74, is a retired teacher of the University of Santo Tomas.
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