I live across Burgos Park. A crossed jogging path surrounded by another circular path; Burgos Park is located in the center of the crossroad. Crown grass, Ixora, and golden trumpet flowers foresting the whole park were the reason I walked along the path every night. I was under stress from studying. The park had never been calm, but was always full of dogs socializing with each other, small puppies dipping their noses into the soil, and their guardians initiating new conversations.
The lockdown had totally changed my daily habit. I was not able to go for a walk as much as I used to, as I could not leave my house unless something very urgent popped up. The Burgos Park I saw through the window was now empty and only several sprinklers remained, spouting water onto the plants. One day, I was walking through the park to a grocery store. The crown grass grew so much that it reached my calf, clear dew crowning red Ixora petals, and undergrowth began to blossom under no disturbance. Tiny wildflowers bloomed along the jogging path that was barely stepped on, but frequently cleansed by the sprinkler.
Since the lockdown in March, only a few cars had been fuming into the atmosphere. Before the quarantine, I had to wait around eight minutes for cars to stop to cross the road, which went around the Burgos Park in an endless line. However, that day, I could even walk along the car road. When I looked up at the sky, it was the most blue among the Philippines’ morning skies I’d ever seen. Sunshine of early summer penetrated through white clouds embroidering the sky, nourishing flora of the park.
I noticed several people heading to their destinations with masks on their faces. A family was dragging a stroller under shade of a Dita tree, a woman was chattering with her mother, shopping baskets full of provisions in their hands, and two long lines in front of Robinson’s Mall as always.
Observing people through the window became part of my routine. One day, I was putting my face close to the glass pane, looking outside. I suddenly felt someone’s stare, which was from the apartment in front of my condominium. Leaning his body against the balcony, a boy made eye contact with me. I quickly turned my head and fixed my eyes on the lines of people, but I felt the boy was glancing at me. Eventually, I faced him again with frustration for disrupting my peaceful moment and he avoided my glare, pointing at the looming image of the Sierra Madre around which clouds hovered over their peaks. I thought he could be imagining himself climbing it. I imagined myself doing the same, inhaling fresh air, running through the giant trees, watching myself disappear behind the giant tree trunks.