ISSN 2330-717X

Pine Shadows: Spirits Of The Past – OpEd


My amazement is unending when in the pine woods. There is always something new that meets the eye. This Holy Week was no exception.

Thursday, spent and feet aching (for lack of walk), I took a seat on pine needles, stretched my legs and bent to the ground to ease the pain in my vertebra.  And looking ahead from a vantage point, my eyes’ attention landed on cone-dotted pine stands.

A lone ficus begged for attention, an old oak leaning on one side and giant ferns spreading their wings. A rhododendron threw a bright violet, some moosewood, blended with shrubs and a lone wild sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia) all but slew the dominant Mecanthus chinensis’ blades that were sharp like a Samurai’s.

And there was no shortage of fallen branches strewn about, resting at various angles and some partially covered in a year or two’s worth of dead leaves.

As I sat looking, I began to take in more.  A large ant on a mission, determinedly carrying some little white sphere uphill and down through the leaves. The cicadas, I noticed, were almost silent, after having made quite a din yesterday. Only a couple of birds were singing.  A woodpecker tapped for a few moments.

But most mysterious of all, the sun cast streaks of light through the trees – onto a patch of forest floor, onto leaves fluttering from certain trees, onto a few tree trunks.

Then my eye caught something.

About 30 feet away, on the trunk of a Japanese alder lit by the morning sun, was a very large shadow of a leaf. The shadow came from one of the few alumit trees that hung on a spindly tree between the sun and the gnarled grotesque branches. Of course I had to capture the tree with its leaf shadow on my digital. Moving

nearer to the tree to get a better shot, I noticed, on a pine tree farther on, a much more pleasing, even delightful shadow. There on the reddish pine bark danced several small leaf shadows.  As the breeze rustled the living leaves on a nearby red alundia, their shadows moved gracefully in the sunshine against their scaly

pine bark background.  

The sight gave me joy, and I eagerly snapped a couple of pictures.

Sitting back against a pine tree, I looked at what I shot. There was nothing. Two blank shots, But clearly imprinted were dark shadows …

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Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan wrote for the British Panos News and Features and GEMINI News Service, the Brunei Times, and US Environment News Service. In the Philippines, he wrote for DEPTHNews of the Press Foundation of Asia, Today, the Philippine Post, and Vera Files. A practicing environmentalist, he holds postgraduate degrees in environment resource management and development studies as a European Union (EU) Fellow at University College, Dublin, Ireland. He is currently a Fellow of Echoing Green Foundation of New York City. He now writes for Business Mirror and Eurasia Review.

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