Afternoons are my favorite time to take a leisurely stroll at the rice fields across our house in Cabanatuan.
Passing through a neighbor’s yard and crossing a makeshift stick bridge, I’m immediately transported from the newly paved road of Buliran to an expansive vista of nothing but rice fields.
The dirt path runs parallel to the setting sun far west of the horizon. I can count on my single hand the number of times the sun did not impress me during its retreat at the ends of the earth.
Most times, I walk these roads alone. The fields empty except for some cows and carabaos; an occasional human zooming on bikes and tricycles passing through once in a while to break my solitude.
The farm’s teeming with activities this last visit, being harvest season. Farmers cutting the heavily hung crops, heavy carabaos lying in wait for their loads, men treshing rice grains and onlookers watching the seasonal reaping with interest.
What remains permanent though is the glorious sun. It floats high over the horizon, steady as can be, not wanting to go down and let nature run its course.
But it can’t seem to get past its guards; once it starts to dip, it always escapes in such a quick fashion that I sometimes wish it can be played in slow motion.
The fields, already golden with the crops are made even more golden as the sun bows. The sky turns from blue to striking yellows. The yellows turn to magentas. And the magentas give way to deep blues until evening finally falls.
The darkness is almost complete if not for the piercing stars overhead. A planet rises on the far horizon, silent thunders light the low clouds.
I walk back home, looking at the darkened fields and the shining stars, pausing every now and then, thinking, how many more stars would probably come out if I stay a few minutes more, even few hours more.
“The pale stars were sliding into their places. The whispering of the leaves was almost hushed. All about them it was still and shadowy and sweet. It was that wonderful moment when, for lack of a visible horizon, the not yet darkened world seems infinitely greater—a moment when anything can happen, anything be believed in.”
- Olivia Howard Dunbar, The Shell of Sense