Nonfiction by | June 17, 2012

Paths have a wonderful allure to me; inherent to all things mysterious and unexplored. I always wonder what lies beyond the bend, or where a path would lead.

As a child, I often went with my friends on bike rides that took us to the next barrio, choosing the meandering paths that went past rice fields and coconut groves. I still have the tiny scars on my feet and knees reminding me of the time my brakes failed and I improvised by placing my feet against the front wheel. It took a good while before I got around to fixing the brakes and it did not happen until I had to do it with my ass against the rear tires (unintentionally). I got new brakes after that; and the exploring continued.

I miss the paths of my childhood. The dirt roads, now paved, once took us to the mango trees from where we once thieved. Our slippers rested on the footpaths along the irrigation dikes where we floated the toy boats we had built from scraps. These are long gone now.

Why such memory? I do not grieve for my past; I miss parts of them. Any passage requires the leaving behind of something. And while I do have a few regrets, I must move on.

I think of life as a journey; a path whose length I do not know. I look back and remember sections that had been shady and cool, some were rocky and miserable, some best left forgotten. I see parts of the path that still resound with the joyful echoes of family and friends and some that were achingly silent. I remain convinced life would mostly an uphill climb and that going downhill is both a long way off and a rarity. I look forward and all I see is a bend — I cannot see what lies ahead.

Still, I walk on in wonderment, without trepidation and always with the knowledge both joyful and sobering that this path must somehow end. And when it ends, I must come home. Wherever this road will take me, I am content, for I know that the paths exist because Someone had already trodden ahead of me.

Jesse Jay L. Baula was born in Davao City on November 18, 1975 and earned his MD from Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro City. He is a resident physician in Digos City.

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