Gearshifts on the hill


It must be the hangover of a very active era where the final pages turned into final closure recently. Then came a new book we’ve opened in hopes of gleaning useful information. We did but must have suffered memory loss at the feet of reading deficiency.

There’s silence that created a vacuum leaving villagers pondering if anybody’s home. Well, the lights are on but let’s check if someone’s inside is snoozing in the comfy of a huge couch. Maybe the guy slurped heavy bone soup sending him into an instant snore as to forget that there are people in the room.

“With bankruptcy, I’d take a long siesta too!” declared my friend Magoo. “The pile of fiscal obligations slams the brakes instantly what with revenue generation going deep south.”

“With a bloated payroll of between 3,000 and 5,000 employees, a pension program that went broke, lack of policy reform to reset buttons, what’s there to expect from the JV team?” he asked. Any hope to regain strength and confidence amidst a deepening fiscal crisis? Don’t know, it’s all wait and wait and wait and hopefully see.

There’s the initial establishment of the “solutions driven” team comprised of new cabinet people. This takes a process while debts pile up taller than the Puerto Rico Dump. Then give the new team time to get situated and more time to do things as a group. Four to six months from now we could draw reasonable assessment what would eventually be coming down the pike.

If your contract is skipped, ranting and raging isn’t going to change the tenor of the decision. Go ahead and intone that beautiful nursery rhyme song most pupils learn in grammar school, Lullaby and Good Night. You might wake up to the morning sun with puffy eyes and stuffy nose but should humbly say that it’s the end of that happy journey.

Pictures: Part of profession
One of the highlights of my career as an active journalist was in photography. Trained by the Department of the Navy while in journalism school I’ve done picture taking for over 30 years in the islands. The Navy is highly reputed for the superb quality of its photos.

We have scenic places, the most colorful sunset, and bright flame tree flowers in May, the golden shores, cultural events, etc. I mean all you need is the sun to set the stage and you’re home free to click your 35 SLR camera.

There are natural settings to take pictures that include Taga Stones on Tinian, rare sight of the volcano on Pagan and empty landscape from an eruption in Anatahan, an ancient village on Rota, the panoramic view of beach road; and other beautiful places throughout the region. We have the Rock Islands in Belau, Atolls in Chuuk, Nan Madol in Pohnpei, and rows of coconut trees in the Marshalls.

Photography teases your imagination. I’ve used small and large lenses for my purposes. You could also use aperture and speed to secure a desired effect, e.g., waves crashing on the reef as it roll down. The roll is what you wish to show. You could basically do anything you want but it’s a photographer’s galore when you’re in paradise. I’ve documented a lot of events between here, DC, Tokyo, and elsewhere throughout the region. It was a pleasant learning experience!

Scenic Places: Occasionally, I would page through photos admiring nature’s unique scenic places worldwide. Not interested in what a metropolis has to offer. My imagination gravitates instantly to huge farmland, seaside, rivers, lakes, savannahs, and volcanic tops.

Perhaps I didn’t want anything impeding my vision when I look out to the ocean to see forever or drive a tractor through rows of corn for miles or the perfect panoramic view of the dome descending to our tiny pearly isle. It augurs well with my usual habit looking at issues from the standpoint of the forest over the trees.

I let my imagination run its course. Not sure why the dominant dream of a huge farmland somewhere. Perhaps it’s the idea of massive plantations like rows of corn that run and fades into the end of the earth. Is the fascination founded in the notion hailing from a small island where most everything’s within reach? Maybe. It must be nice owning one where all my dietary needs are all farm-raised or grown not to mention the healthy daily exercise.

Recalled flying across the country one December on my way to Washington. The entire landscape downstairs was a complete field of white. Wow! I’m sure the folks in frigid weather look forward to spring to welcome fresh air as flower buds begin to poke their way out of tree branches. I’ve also seen the Japanese flowers in bloom (sakura) facing the Jefferson Memorial that was so splendidly displayed by Mother Nature. What gift of real beauty!

There’s also a dream of traversing the seamless wide-open ocean. The ecstasy of everything upfront being open and distant is just pure ecstasy.

There were rivers that run into the deepest part of the ocean. I quiz if the running water isn’t replenished via nature’s way of recycling. How pleasant though listening to water run-off rolling downhill. I know that with birds winging their last flights home at sunset that it was time to head home. The return of birds at dusk signals the close of another day in paradise.

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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