OVER THE WEEKEND I had the chance to gather my backpack and put in my hammock. This weekend is about family time, sharing company and making memories. I was with my maternal uncle’s family hitting the road at dawn on the way to a beach I have never been to. Excitement ran through me.
Just for a couple of hours I can get out. Feel and commune again with nature solely this time. Nothing in mind but spare leisure time with people you get along well. Adding to this was the food we brought. Home cooked meals that is thoughtfully made by a mother longing for her children’s hugs and banter while they live on their own at the big city. Holiday breaks is the only time of year they get to come home again and reunite.
She cooked for their missed out staples at home. Meals in the city doesn’t come close to the warmth, the memories that every flavor it brings out. That distinct home cooked flavor. That smokey taste and aroma of wooden fired stove. Indeed, food is memories.
Memories about family. Memories of having the time together.
The sea breeze smelled of moss. Really it was weird not to smell of salt but it was refreshing. By the time we waited for the sun rise, walking by the coarse sandy shore, the water is cold. Enough to what we all wanted, to cool ourselves from the hot weather of this year’s dry season. Intensely mad heat it was the couple of days past.
While we were settled at the beach hut I saw a boat loaded with men and a woman approaching the shore. We all thought that they have already with them some fresh catch. My uncle intends to buy a tuna or anything that we can feed to the grill and eat comes lunch time.
As they offloaded and docked their boat, we saw them with a wooden contraption being turned. So much like the reel of a fishing rod where you spool the string once you caught something. This one is huge and it is attached to a net. They are hauling their what could be a big catch on that day. A couple of men, women, some kids and dogs gather round on the shore as they continue to haul in the net which they might have cast the night before.
This sight was never new to me but it amazes me every time I have the chance to see fishermen doing what they do best. My younger years I was exposed to doing some farm work during summer time at my paternal grandfather’s. I learned to sow corn seeds on a freshly plowed earth. I wanted to learn how to maneuver the plough pulled by a water buffalo.
My grandmother begged off because I was a little bit small and she feared I might be pulled by the animal if I called out a wrong command. I insisted that the verbal command is easy. I just needed to learn how the rope works because it is where the buffalo relies on. How loosely or tightly you pull and flick it sends signal to the way it walks through the field.
I am fascinated how they live their lives out here. How they thrive and sustain. I’ve learned from the books since that this sector of our country is left out and measly a fisherman’s income isn’t enough to earn a better keep for himself and his family. The irony of how rich my country is when it comes to our marine resource. I can only say so much because I don’t want to get so serious on this.
I went my way around them, taking their picture in their state of busy-ness. I felt excited seeing the net get closer to the shore and see if we have, I mean, they, have a big catch that morning. My excitement transcend to an urge inside me to help in hauling out the net but I restrained myself in doing so because I don’t want to feel intrusive. I contended to just taking some more shots of them. Watching their faces and actions as they continue to pull in.
More of them gather round where the net finally was hauled out and unfortunately it wasn’t a big of a catch. Sighs and low quips could be heard among them. From where I stood I clearly heard some of them that they might have reeled the net too quickly. Then the group dispersed quietly. My cousin went near the end of the net and found that small fishes and a squid were caught. Not even a pail could be filled of it.
My uncle walked away knowing we don’t have a fish to grill. It was his birthday that day. He too was excited to buy some fish but there’s just no fish to his wanting. He still got cake though and his birthday suit—rash guard and walking shorts.
We returned to our hut and change to our beach wears. I could still see them afar that they put back the net on the boat and will be casting it again. I hoped they got lucky the next time they hauled it in.