ricknrok Richard E James Ed. D, Ph. D

If we look for the harmony in nature, it’s never far from our grasp or understanding. Every plant, animal, and particle of the soil has its own rhythm, synchronicity and wisdom. This can be seen in the deeply connected root of the Iron Wood and Mahogany or in the schools of fish that play within the ocean surrounding our islands. Nature constantly conducts itself as an orchestra all around us as well as inside of us. Every cell in our bodies are doing their own dance: growing, flowing, and moving according to their own tempo and percussion..

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The Duwende and the Battle for the Symphony of Nature

Louie having recently returned from an epic battle with the Amalanhig's at the abandoned Durian Hotel in the heart of the shopping district of Davao city was left exhausted, depressed and forlorn not because of the atrocities of battle but rather over the loss of another potential love interest among the slain. Finding himself in the pits of despair he reached out to his long-term friend Geraldine about his deepening sadness, "I just don't know what to do it seems like in all the world there is no one out there for me."

Geraldine listening intently and weighing her words thoughtfully answered with sympathy, “You will find someone one of these days Louie, these things just take time" and so they do.

However, her words simply fell on deaf ears as his emotional state had become overwhelming. What's more just as turbulent as his internal emotions was the external environmental changes taking place that could not be readily explained. News personality responds over the television and across all social media platforms, "Scientists and the government are unable to explain all the recent changes to the world's ecosystem and fear the worst."

You see there was taking place what could only be called extreme weather conditions and the earthquakes all over Mindanao that seemed to be originating from the province of Davao. These conditions peaked his interest but left him for the most part trapped within his family dwelling just like everyone else from Davao. He was just thankful that he lived on higher ground because he felt pity when he saw the images of the people from inside the city.

After two weeks or so had passed and things seemed to be worsening sometime during the middle of the dark rainy night in the sleepy little village of Green Orchard, something really strange happened that even he had a hard time believing. While sleeping in his bed he found himself startled and awakened by yet another crypted. This time, it was a princess from a clutch of duwende who had sought him out to ask a favor.

Princess Maganda Umaga as she called herself, materialized out of thin air as duwende do, took him by his hand looked deeply into his startled eyes and said, “My father is in a dire battle for control of the elements with an evil black dwarf who is trying to steal his throne, raise havoc on the islands and send the Philippines into complete chaos. He is the cause of all the serious calamities that are happening and if left unchecked there will be more earthquakes, typhoons and tsunamis that will rock the city of Davao into complete devastation.

The princess went on to say, “This black dwarf has discovered the most ancient piece of composition that was from the creation of the world and which has allowed him to unbalance everything turning the natural environment upside down. I watched at the Durian Hotel as you fought the Amalanhig in your recent battle and my father has vowed up to half of his kingdom and my hand in marriage for your help.”

Louie, we have been watching you for years, know you left food and gifts for us as a child, and have always been impressed by your humility, generosity, and your demonstrated courage. Help us Sir Knight, you are our only hope."

Hearing this Louie reluctantly agreed to help the princess but feared being stigmatized by his friends for now wanting to marry a duwende. You see, although most of these creatures are humanoid in appearance they are still shorter than the average Filipina and have notably large heads with dark eyes. Their features are notably out of proportion with the rest of their body structure. As earth elementals, duwende also have an affinity for the soil so therefore often appear dirty, unkempt and almost always smelling of the deep forest (but what the hell water and soap exists). However, most Filipinos would find this creature totally unappealing, even hideous, but in Louie’s mind she had become a ravenous beauty and far above the Amalanhig girl he recently wanted to date.

You see Louie had been taught by his elders that the duwende were capable of extreme acts of kindness and that if he ever managed to befriend one, he could expect to have a successful life. Befriend one, the hell with that, he wanted to become part of the family and a king. He knew that in forming a relationship with this duwende princess it would surely last a lifetime. Well at least as long as he didn't fuck things up, because he also knew that breaking such a bond would lead to bad luck and possibly even death.

He remembered how his elders told him that an earth spirit wife would bring good fortune, money, food, and even precious gems and magical powers. The only drawback he could think of was that according to Philippine folklore, the duwende lived in mounds of soil like termites or ants which being a chubby guy for him would be a little restrictive. When he passed such structures as a child he had always used the term “tabi tabi po” to excuse himself as he passed such an earthly structure. His family believed that the inhabitants of such mounds were the reason for affliction, fever and inflammation. Truth be told, his fear was why he offered food to these unseen malady givers.

So the folklore goes, the reason they can't always be seen is because their flesh doesn’t originate from Adam. The flesh of the nature spirits was composed of only of physical elements and they did not have spiritual souls like people. However, Louie had no problem with converting to a differing world view. Louie chose to believe that the duwende were guardians, protectors, and the true owners of the Philippine islands. More specifically, the fields that were used for planting rice and growing crops were their first. He remembered how the elders from his family used to make offerings of cooked rice, unsalted boiled chicken, offered cigars for their smoking pleasure and sprinkled the blood from the red rooster on the leaves of the plants they were asking them to protect.

Now it was Louie’s turn to protect them, win the hand of his Princess, and beat this ancient evil fucking black dwarf into complete submission. He grabbed his armor and suited up ready to engage in the battle even if it cost him his very life. He secretly hoped, his princess would be at his side so she could obsevsrve first-hand his courage and daring.

The black dwarf was named Satanmic, he confronted him at midnight in the center of a large dimly lit open field where he skillfully dodged all his environmental attacks, torrential rains, high winds, landslides, and earthquakes. All the time blocking out the dwarfs evil fucking diabolic heavy metal music playing all around him. He almost lost hope but his princess always spurred him on with her promises of success and happiness. Well would have except Louie wore earplugs to blot out all the noise including hers which eventually allowed him to reach the black hearted fucker striking him to the ground with one mighty blow of his department store sword. He then retook control of the musical composition putting everything back in harmony.

Once again, the crickets sang their last few notes at the break of day. The Spotted Owl screeched from far off in the distance and the Cuckoo announced the arrival of dawn. Tui- tui- tui, came the low-pitched whistle of a Common Lorie, and even the Black-naped Monarch called sharply from his bamboo cluster. Louie, ear plugs removed, could once again hear the loud cackle of the jungle babblers that couldn’t be missed. Not a single leaf moved on any tree in sight, yet the forest was wide awake with its ensemble of birds and insects. Everything appeared as if a canvas painting of swipes, lines, and squiggles or the harmony of the vocalizations of each species, a whole environment a masterpiece that was no less than an artist’s work.

Only the musicians, in this case were the critters you could barely see, mammals hanging out high up in the canopy, and birds that swoosh by before you could even catch a glimpse of them. As he admired the grand cacophony of the natural world that was now half, he wondered how every species conveyed their message in a way that could he heard over their fellow denizens.

Louie now realized that each species vocalized for a reason: to find their mate, to warn competitors or even to entertain themselves with no specific biological gain in mind. Each acoustic signature contributes to the creation of a symphony, a soundscape for an entire ecological system. A unique compilation of complex signals of creatures large and small and providing the landscape its individuality.

Louie was truly a duwende, deep within the soul of an artist. The princess as he explained to others was the concept of the muse of the poet who inspires heightened moments of creativity. Perhaps the popularity of mythology is simply because artists and storytellers are activating their inner duwende, or perhaps the duwende is activating them.

I have spent over thirty years of my life in the Philippines, most of the people I love are Filipinos and I am happy as a philosopher to contribute to the retelling of the folktales of the culture and that the mythology will once again be passed down to the next generation. Perhaps the duwende from our imaginations appreciate that they continue to be remembered in paintings, books, and even in our music. Whenever we truly seek the duwende all we ever need to do is look around us and listen to our own inner voices.


2023년 12월 5일 11:23 오후 0 신고하기 삽입됨 스토리 팔로우하기

저자 소개

Richard E James Ed. D, Ph. D Greetings, I am a seminary graduate, Ph. D Psychologist and Doctorate of philosophy. I enjoy studying world religions, travel and the search for life’s meaning. I personally believe that truth does not lie in what the world tells us to believe but rather in what it shows us through our experiences.

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