Sunday, February 17, 2008
My Backyard Retreat
Deep in my soul, I am still a kampong boy.
Living in the fast-paced metropolitan Singapore, I still yearn to go back to nature, back to my age of innocence. I have this need to go back to the simple basics amid all the high-tech stuff and modern conveniences surrounding my daily life which I love and seem cannot do without.
My childhood days in the village where I lived and grew was amid natural surroundings. It was a wonderful period in my life as I have always remembered it to be. Perhaps the good times were played in my mind too many times and had exaggeratedly become ideal.
Nonetheless, these memories of living in tranquil natural settings have served me well in times of insanity and the daily rush to chase a better living.
I need to go back to nature to recalibrate myself... my senses and well being, my sanity. Vacations to far and beautiful places are great, but these are costly and thus are too far in between.
So I depend on my weekends to do just that. The only thing I needed were some special spots that I can call my Eden.
I figured that is one of the reasons I haul my family to the Changi Beach Park every so often. There is something about the body of water that calms me down... rejuvenates the senses when I am close to nature.
There is now another place even closer to home, practically in my backyard...
A stone's throw away, Mountain Biking Trail off Tampines Avenue 9 is where I have found another spot to momentarily escape from the city life. Though I would see passing cyclists zooming through the trails now and then, the most part of this place remains peaceful.
Once passed the gravel car park and into the trail entrance, I felt as if I had plunged into nature and its undisturbed rustic charm from the concrete jungle behind me. The place somehow felt reminiscent to my long lost village. My mind had left behind its insanity.
This time, without Wifey and Son. I ventured alone on my bike.
The trail was peaceful and quiet once I passed the Mountain Bike Obstacle Course. All I could hear were my breathing, the crisped ground as my bike crushed the dried leaves and branches. I heard birds chirping and sounds of insects calling amongst the shady eucalyptus trees and bushes.
Taking my time, I stopped at numerous spots along the trails that intersected each other. Soaking in the tranquility, like a child, I observed the carefree fauna. Snapping away with my trusted Lumix FZ10 Digital Camera, the intricacies of their forgotten lives brought home in this pocket of nature surrounded by urbanization.
Spending time in solitude, my mind was clear, my soul, happy. Something about intently listening to the sounds of leaves brushing against another in the breeze... something about watching the trees swaying from side to side calmed my senses. Nature at its simplest form. Nothing forced, nothing man-made. Just God's creations.
Beyond the eucalyptus "forest" are secret gardens.
One route led me to a clearing where model airplanes and helicopters enthusiasts congregate to pitch their skills with a controller in their hands. They broke the silence with man's replicated nature.
Another route a distance away led me to another clearing of winding trails up the hill. A biker's ground to scale the heights to the top, where where one can see the blocks of flat outside the fencing trees that guard the parameter of this Eden.
While Wifey still nursing herself with Korean movies and recovering from her recent asthma attack, our Son busy tapping his keyboard revamping his DANamic.ORG website in his room.
This Sunday was a great retreat for myself... back to nature in my backyard. It could not have been much simpler.