The sea-serpent Bakunawa rises from the sea.
Ink and colored pencil on Moleskine.
A block away from our house, there used to be an abandoned lot overgrown with grasses and bushes where there was a small hollow mound of shrubs that I could fit just right into. As a little kid, it was my secret sanctuary where I spend the early afternoons before my mother comes out to call me home for my siesta.
I believed my little sanctuary was a doorway between the magic fairy kingdom and our world. I never saw the fairies, but I knew they were there, protecting me from the evil monster (that stray mongrel that roams the bushes) and watching over me while I have my moments of sweet, silent, childhood happiness.
There is a garment factory standing over there now. And I now spend most of my waking hours in an office building - drowned in the electronic buzzes and drones of corporate machines, the bleep-bleep of telephones, the clackety-clack of keyboards, the voices of people around me muttering obscure business language.
The world seemed to become smaller as I grew older, and magic fairy mounds gradually got lost to concrete, glass and steel. It's the sad way of these times.
But once in a while, just when you get absorbed in the mechanical lifestyle, nature gives you those things: a butterfly fluttering happily through the rush hour traffic, a flower falling on you from a tree while you're waiting for the bus, a beautiful stray cat approaching you as you rest your legs by the sidewalk, a rare pink and yellow sunset that just commands attention through the double-glazed office windows.
Insignificant things, many a city dweller would think. But they make a "silly" pagan like me smile in silent delight and wonder. It's the kind of wondrous joy that slaps me back to my senses:
Hey idiot, stop fussing about little stuff. You're so much bigger than that.
The fairies have not gone. The magic of this world is not lost to those who see with pagan eyes.