I was watching Jack Reacher on Netflix yesterday and noticed how Tom Cruise running. I know he does this on quite a lot of his films, and whenever Tom Cruise runs, I wish I could run that way too. Makes me think – when was the last time I’ve ran like there was mo tomorrow?
In this last decade there were a few years I used to run. I would excitedly mark fun runs in my calendar, queue at the marathon sign up booths to get my shirt and race bib, and wake up before sunrise to conquer the miles. I did it mostly for fun and for the cause. And by fun I meant 5 kilometers. That’s it. I stopped when I had an ankle injury and recognized I’ve not been running the right way so I was putting unhealthy strain on the wrong parts of my feet.
But what I miss most is the way I felt when I ran as a child. When I thought my lungs and the sides of my tummy would burst because I gave it my all. When I played tag or hide and seek with my friends. Or when I raced the street with my brother or cousins. When the neighbor’s dogs would chase us and we raced all the way back home. When I pretended I was a superhero and ran off to rescue an imaginary person in distress. I had my share of scratches and scars along the way, but I ran wildly each time like the world depended on it.
I surprised myself having to think twice about this – too many memorable and meaningful things/events/people/places to choose from. So I figured I’d not go far and just look at what’s in front of me. Well, technically I’m imagining I am home right now since I’m literally located in another city.
Pedro, our adopted senior bulldog, had been very lethargic lately – may be because he is ten years old going eleven, and maybe because the scorching heat of summer makes it harder for my sweetie to frolic about in the yard.
Rex is also a senior dog – a bit older by months than Pedro. He’s been with us since he was three months old, and we’ve had a share of destroyed furniture when he was young. I’ve trained him, and dog training wasn’t easy but quite rewarding. It was Rex that bonded us with other dog-loving families. For some time our neighbors knew him more than they knew D and me. It’s funny how people would associate us with the folks ‘from the white house where the labrador lives”. If I was asked what my period in Rex’s life I’m more fond of, I’d say now that he’s older. He’s my ever quiet shadow in the house – my gentle giant. I like to rub it in on D at times as I know Rex loves his mum more than his dad. Dad is someone he ‘plays’ with, but when it comes to serious stuff, mum has the final word.
When I am at home Pedro and Rex would take turns (mostly subtly kicking each other out – for some reason they don’t mingle together for long) sitting next to me. Nothing beats the soft touch of their fur on my hand, the quiet comfort they give as they sleep beside me. When they are awake they often look at me and their soulful gaze seem to say so many things. And I don’t care if anyone sees me talking to them all the time – I believe they understand what I feel, without any judgment. Sometimes for kicks, D and I would dance, with Rex and Pedro as our audience. Yep, they do not judge indeed.
I know that the time our dogs live is not as long as we would want them to, and though this makes me sad at times I shift my thoughts to what I am grateful for instead. Rex and Pedro are part of the family – all memories that D and I have about home almost always involve our dogs. Their loyalty and love for us have no limit, and we are fortunate and blessed to have them in our lives.
First of all, I’m not sure how it’s even spelled: Aratilis? Aratiles? Aratalis? It’s a small, berry-sized fruit I was very fond of when I was little. They’re called different names in other countries (Singapore or Jamaican cherry, Panama berry, etc). Anyway, the Filipino name, aratilis, is pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable. Secondly, the reason I’m blogging about this is I’ve seen a line of aratilis trees on our way driving to my Minhwa class yesterday, and it brought me a lot of good childhood memories.
Come to think of it, I have not seen the aratilis fruit for a long time. I had to ask my dad to check out the aratilis tree in their backyard to see if there’s any fruit he could take a photo of. The ripe ones are cherry red, but these ones are not yet ripe. So here they are. When ripe, they are quite juicy and sweet.
I remember when I was young, I would spend hours climbing the tree next to our house, with a small sack in tow so I could stow my ‘harvest’. Now, much as I would crave for this fruit, I wouldn’t find it as it’s not sold in the supermarket or the farmers’ market. After our drive down the street to my class yesterday, I looked up what the benefits of this fruit are and these are what I found:
anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory
lowers blood pressure and promotes cardiovascular health
Today, I went to the community plant nursery and asked if they have seedlings I could plant at our backyard at home. Much to my disappointment I was told they had none, but I could try looking around the neighborhood as the aratilis tree randomly grows, almost like a weed. My dad explained that the birds are the ones that propagate the seeds that’s why they grow everywhere. True enough, D and I found a couple of trees on our drive back home. I’ll try to look for fruits when I walk around our neighborhood next time so we could plant the seeds in our backyard.
I still know the lyrics written on my old Fisher Price music box. The thought of its tune brings back good childhood memories. I would wind up the music box again and again, hum or sing along.
Whenever I feel afraid I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune, So no one will suspect I’m afraid
I guess the words stuck to my head, along with walls I built through the years. Growing up I’ve mastered being calm, sometimes too much that I am perceived as unconcerned, transactional. Even though deep inside I feel like crumbling.
Until fate shattered these walls and reminded me of the beauty in humility and the refuge I can find in prayer. It was not an easy path, with fear lurking every so often. When this happens now, I say out loud, again and again:
My faith is stronger than my fear.
And then, slowly afterwards, I would feel a sense of peace. Always.