“Sand and water and a million years gone by”
Nature is water. And we can only flow with it.
There is on the south side of our paradise island, a village that looks out to the sea as if it is guardian to it. The villagers make merry of daily tasks, cooking, feasting, weaving, fishing, child raising, and mindlessly living sometimes, but also breathing in the air of freedom.
You know it is that air they enjoy which has them forgiving the hot sun, the careless decision makers; chiefs, youth and women leaders, politicians, and bosses of private businesses. So that when the cheap fundraisers aimed at protecting the village’s unity arise out of the empty pockets they have to show, the free air is the most important thing to own.
But of unity in the villages, I think as a child of my beloved country, that the unity we miss was there many moons ago, when the villagers did not need to worry about the falling apart of their connectivity. The united minds of the villagers and rhythms can be seen in the way their children dance to permeate happiness to tourists and church followers alike. The benefits of those things, though material culture usually, is also to keep the villagers from losing themselves into the abyss of modern things and stuff. Stuff is the problem these days, because there is just too much of it, noise included.
But we are not an isolated island though it is a wishful thing if you ponder the plight of the environment. Collectors of plastic will not outlive the problem of drowning turtles, breathless reefs, and ugly sea shores because “stuff” piles up when more and more people do not care. Who’s to say that the pretty villages on the south are not throwing plastic into the sea? Well, the part of the land that some politely call the “landslide” is also being used for something else. To drive by and realize that our own paradise inhabitants are solely claiming that spot for waste is nothing more than a blatant realization that we have reached the point of insanity in humanity. But the cost of taking trash to town is an arm and a leg on an employee paid with minimum wage. I guess a recreational park in Apia is a brief solution to our want of beauty. It seems “stuff” is prettier to us these days, than the natural flow of nature.
But one cannot aspire to good things like the beauty of nature if one does not understand nature deeply. When I look at the sea of the south side of Upolu, the sky and the birds come to me, as if to urge my thoughts to stop wishing. The wind touches your skin and you feel there is life in the whisper of leaves swaying. Grief is a distant thing in the awe of nature, because when you think of your loved ones who died, as you watch the sunrise or the sunset, you accept that the moment you are witnessing is not in a time you know. Nature thus is a part of you, but your delusion would say that you are not part of it. So that when the rain touches you, you are the first to run from the scene. Do you ever love it when the rain pours?
Nature is a beautiful thing, said most poets. If you look at her without thinking, you will find she sits with you, all the while. Not like a shadow, nor a guardian, but more like a god or goddess, waiting for you to wake up. When you wake, you see nature for what it is. And you will find a sense of belonging, not just to your country, but to the entire world. You will see that nature sees through you. And through you, everything is made beautiful.
Upon reflection, I would say to you face to face as a Samoan guardian like yourself, that poverty and issues of peril like corruption, are only remnants of the cruelty we have multiplied against the environment. Inside our homes, our work places, our minds even, the rot of the environmental perils show. But that is the lesson of loving things briefly, of not deeply connecting, of not being present when you are looking at life. You are part of it, and yet, it is not part of you.
My new year’s resolution is to be as quiet as the sea and as loud as the prose in me for the sake of talent and gifts to share. So here, I will hum a lyrical poem I love and reach out to your hand, as a reminder that nature is always a deeper part of us even when as humans we seem separated.
“ I will hear you in the sound of the waves. I will know you through the doors beyond the grave. Solid stone is just sand and water, and a million years gone by. “
May you always feel the rain!