May 1, 2007

Raindrops on Roses

Remember The Sound of Music?

If you don't, then you have to see it.

Whenever Maria felt bad, she'd sing about her favorite things. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens....

By the time I was nine I could sing all the songs in that movie.

I noticed that most of my recent postings are not as fun as I'd like them to be. Why don't I feel better? That's the same question little Gretel asked in the movie. Then they kept singing until Maria came back and made them all happy.

So I'm trying to remember some of my favorite things. Hmmm... Videogames, shoes, colorful yarn, crayons, books, cartoons, food, massages, nice computers, did I mention food? Chocolates, handwritten letters, stamps, love songs, funny songs... What else? Tide pools! I looooove tide pools! Honasan, in Bisaya. When we were little, my siblings and I play at the tidepools behind our grandparents' house. That's where we learned that the moon DOES affect the tides, and that our science teacher didn't make that up. We'd look forward for the full moon, when the low tide would be at its lowest and last the longest. It means more playing time in the tide pools!

Back then, it wasn't a big deal if we took coral branches home. We also collected all kinds of shells - with the animals in them. For the most part, we leave the hermit crabs alone because their shells are not shiny. I remember the day I took a bunch of starfishes home to dry because I thought they were cute. The next day, I got punished for being cruel to them and because they stank really bad.

I learned a lot of things in the time I spent in the tide pools: that the black muddy part may have crabs and eels living there, and that the black mud mixed with the right amount of dry sand make the best sandballs for sandball fights. I learned not to mess with a Bantol - the stonefish. I saw baby octopi sneak into the tiniest crack and change its color. I learned that sea urchins with the short spikes are generally harmless and are edible, and that sea urchins with long spikes can hurt like hell. And that vinegar can dissolve sea urchin spikes, if you got one or twenty in your foot. There were bright green baby eels, fish that look like dead leaves and crabs that just shed their hard shells.

In Boracay, I took my husband to a tide pool on the other side of the island. A little boy gathering puka's made Darren feel brave enough to wade, I mean walk, in the 2inch deep water. I didn't realize that brittle stars do look like menacing spiders and that all the little hermit crabs and snails and sea slugs do look scary to someone who is not used to it. Darren was being brave. I saw that he didn't think his flip flops are enough to protect him from the hundreds of creepy crawly things around him, so we made our way back to shore. I was hoping he would enjoy having first hand experience with nature, but I think he prefers to watch a Discovery Channel episode on this. To his credit, on his 7th or 8th trip to the Philippines, he did start to enjoy tide pooling with me.

There. I feel better already.

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