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Ever since I was in high school, I am already a fan of Sen. Juan M. Flavier who used to be the secretary of the Department of Health during the time of pres. Fidel V. Ramos. I used to read his article in the Catholic Digest. My particular favorite was the Parable of the Onion. But I can't seem to find the article anymore. My second favorite among his writings, the Parable of the Special Tree which can be found in his book Parables of the Barrio vol. 301-350. For the benefit of my international readers, let me share this story to you.

"There is a story which old folks tell when nights at the barrio happen to be oppressively hot and humid.

Many years ago, when their barrio was still young, there towered a gigantic tree at the edge of the village. A tree so big its base occupied the equivalent of their barrio plaza or at least one hectare. So huge a tree that it took several hundred villagers to encircle its trunk with their arms extended and hands clasped.

The branches of this majestic tree went so high. In fact, no one had ever seen the top as cloud formations covers the upper section. The foliage was so luxuriant the tree actually provided shade for several barrios. Underneath, it was quite difficult to see for the sun could not penetrate the lush leaves. There it was always cool and shady.

The time came when some farmers started to complain. The shade had prevented crops and various vegetation to grow on what they deemed a wide area of wasted and idle land. They also claimed that the lack of sunlight made their children sickly.

They decided to petition God to remove the tree.

After hearing their seemingly legitimate gripes, God declared, "I shall take away your tree." Suddenly, successive flashes of lightning dtruck the tree. the crackle was deafening and the burst of flames was blinding. It didn't take long for the massive tree to disintegrate completely.

True enough, the land became suitable for farming. The sun shone on the land with full intensity. The people savored the bright days.

But their glee was short lived. Their meager water supply could not irrigate the vast land. The soil dried up and cracked. The air gradually became hotter and more humid. The people clamored for the once cool shade and crisp air.
In contrite and repentant manner the villagers agreed to petition God for the return of the tree.

But God replied, " It cannot be done. Even I take years to grow a tree - to nurture a seedling and shape it to full slendor. And in the case of your exceptional tree, it took me a thousand years. And yet it only took the foolish shortsightedness of a man to destroy it in an instant."

Since then the air continued to get hotter and more humid. And each year, throughout the land, countless precious trees continue to disappear. For man's foolish shortsightedness shall always prevail."


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