Saturday, April 18, 2020

Chek Jawa Days

Chek Jawa days are just full.

Remember that windy and sultry day? I led you by the hand through the woods. You appeared hesitant at first. I had your hand in mine, and gave you a squeeze to tell you I was near. Two lonely figures we were, in a tunnel of trees and shrubs, walking upon the soft and winding trail. It might rain, they said, but I was undaunted.

The sea was near. We stopped momentarily to look up at the rustling of the leaves and felt the breeze in our faces. ‘That’s the wind’, I said. ‘And that’s the sea too!’ I added in jubilation.

No sooner, the glaring shimmer of the sea broke through the gaps in the woods like a chandelier of lights caught in the wind. We quicken our steps and gingerly picked our way among the rocks and boulders on the rugged shore.

And there you were, bubbling with excitement. You took fancy in almost every piece of broken corals and pebbles. If only you could see the twinkle in your own eyes and the quiet joy in a father’s heart. For a moment in time, I felt immortality and that we could walk on and on till time eternal.

Did you not feel the desolate vastness of the sandflat beneath our feet and the sky above our heads? Would you remember the warmth of a father’s care when I pulled your socks off so that you could stand in the pools left by the receding sea?

You ran around pointing out all the starfishes you could find and asked in the most natural way if you
could keep one in the fish tank at home. I laughed. It better they stay in the sea, I said. You held one for
a moment in your small palm and then let it go. Time could only be counted in sea anemones, sponges
and fishes trapped in the pools. We were a hundred meters out and there were starfishes everywhere.

Two hours passed within a breath and the rumble of the darkening sky signal our return to shore. As
usual, you tired easily, and asked to be piggybacked. Why not, I said. There will be a time when you will
grow up and I will not be able to do so again.

As soon as we were back to the rocky outcrop, it began to drizzle. We took shelter under the canopy of the seashore nutmeg and got our raincoats on. The sea rose steadily and covered the meadow of sea grasses like the drawing of the curtain to signal the end of a show. It was time to go.

I look back in fond memory how two of us retraced our path along the forested shoreline under the rain. We took off our caps just for the fun of it. The moistened trunks and roots looked so enriched in tone over the smooth boulders. Even the pebbles became alive in livid colors.

The rain also brought the birds back into the tiny forested home. We too are going home. Every creature, big or small, has a home to return to. With you in my hand, I bade a final farewell to the families of starfishes that had finally returned to the swollen sea.

I wrote this, my dear son, so that this memory will stay with you forever. I hope you will grow up to feel the same as I do for the home that we share with all these wonderful creatures. I hope you too can experience this unique place with your own child and carry on for yourself the immortality I felt when I was there with you.

I am dedicating this memory to you and hope you will discover for yourself that the true sense of being is being with nature.




Hb said...


Joe Lai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Lai said...

Thank you. That Trees Do Cry is also an episode with my son that will always be remembered. Have a read.