November 14, 2010 Westland MI.– Early Sunday morning after Manny Pacquiao pummeled the oversized Mexican slugger, Antonio Margarito, at Dallas Cowboy stadium to a pulp, I brought my wife to work, a ten minute drive from the house because she had a swollen right ankle caused by stepping on a piece of rock at a mall parking lot while she was talking over the phone a day before.
A quarter of a mile from her workplace on my way back home, all cars slowed down to allow a flock of ducks waddling across the street from my right hand side to the left. Motorists have to make a full stop and allow these birds unhampered passage over city streets in full two minutes.
The foray of these fowls unto city streets is a normal occurrence in this part of the city, or perhaps in almost all cities of Michigan because this state has 50 per cent of her land mass of about 36 million acres, forested and most cities have nearby parks, ponds, shrubberies and thick foliage around them.
This nearby trees, during this time of year turned most of its lush vegetation from lively green to red, brown, golden bronze, yellow, purple, red, tan, and crimson. The colors that one sees from a regular Hallmark postcard depicting the Midwest and excite the literary-inclined to wax poetry around these colors. Tree leaves are rich in chlorophyll, the green pigment that is critical in photosynthesis; carotenoids, which produce yellow, orange and brown colors; and anthocyanins which produce color red, purple and crimson.
In summertime, the tree is like a factory churning its chlorophyll to produce food, which explains its vibrant green swaying in full splendor in sunlight. But the tree’s last fling with nature before winter comes, destroyed the green pigment due to long nights but short sunless days which are the trademark of autumn; then the carotenoids and anthocyanins are unmasked and brought forth these breathtaking colors. The trees multicolored foliage, more than make up for their lose of capacity to make more food during most of months of autumn and winter.
This colorful nature by your wayside which is home to these city-dwelling ducks, offer the same allure to the more spritely herd of gentle deer which get out of their thicker and hilly habitat to take careless sorties unto the dangerous wide city streets. It is normal to see a fawn, or a fully grown doe or a buck smashed through your headlights which sometimes caused traffic snarl in the highways. Though the Department of Natural Resources encourages hunting of these hoofed animals to prevent more car mishaps, the deer population continues to thrive and their innocent trespass to the highways at times, bring unpleasant sight of strewn carcass over the clean paved roads or inside your engine compartment like a carefully grounded venison stowed in a freezer for future use, only that the engine is hot.
In this part of the world, you could say that ducks and deer enjoy the same contiguous space as the humans and they were not hunted most of the time for food or game and dogs and cats are brought to a vet or a grooming saloon, while in our country, we torched our dogs for meat and skinned our cats or farm rats for food.
In our own country too, we speak of our rich natural resources at the backdrop of our bald-forest and chest-thump our sympathy to our less fortunate brothers where we could not even commiserate with the flight of our poor pets.
It is said that society can only achieve a genuine love for its less fortunate members it if is capable of being kind to the inferior animals. It is the reason why in these developed societies, they encouraged small kids to have pet dogs to build up their sense of loyalty and friendship with someone. Hachiko, is a bronze statue in Shibuya Train Station in Japan that symbolizes a dog’s invincible bond with his master. Is Japan rich because she had erected a statue for a friend while we are poor because we slaughter ours and eat him?
There are no ducks in our ponds and deer in our forest. We seldom slow down on the road when humans cross the streets and blame them for our late appointment meeting and our inability to pick up more passengers and make another trip in our reckless endeavor to make more money at day’s end.
Our politicians and our profligate rich exploited us with impunity and the criminals freely roam our streets while the courts looked the other way complicit with their nefarious activities. We held a truce at Manny’s fight against Margarito, by watching 12 grueling rounds while some criminals went to the cowboy’s stadium in Dallas as his escorts and watched him lived up to his image of a true warrior and an entertainer.
Pacquiao is our 21st century hero who etched the Philippines back into the world map and his sport promoters want him to graduate from being Congressman to President of the Republic in the light of his avowed commitment to help the people and his unconditional devotion to the God Almighty. The world seems to be toying with the same idea that one host of his pre-fight interview goaded him to reveal his higher political ambition which he coyly answered with a cryptic smile and an announcement that he had wanted really to be a public servant.
Our less developed sense of a nation, and our inability to put food on our table itches us to hitch our future to Pacquiao as our long lost savior. But Manny entertains people for the money, (no pun intended). Would he entertain the electorate for the same reason? Politics in the country after all, is an entertainment.