There is a palm tree commonly growing by the roadside in remote villages. It is called buri. No one actually cultivates it for ornamental purposes. It simply grows someplace, sturdy and useful.
It is its very usefulness that most probably makes it a bit sorry-looking, because its leaves are constantly harvested to make into sturdy mats, bags and rain gear, its fibers turned into sturdy rope resistant to water and so many other useful items.
I had never seen a buri bearing flowers nor fruit until I went to Bohol, where I saw, even from a great distance, a towering, majestic palm tree.
Normally, a fully grown buri palm grows to a maximum height of 45 m, but what I saw seemed even taller than that. It must be possible, since the soil in Bohol is so fertile. And the most incredible thing about this tree was that it was completely loaded with very beautiful reddish pink flowers!
Some flower stalks were hanging downward, some outward and some upward, making this palm a real beauty to behold. It seemed trying to reach and offer its blooms to heaven.
A native of the place told me that the buri tree would flower only once in its very long life span, and that it meant it was going to die soon after.
After its flowers have turned into fruits for germination, it would simply die and rot away for years until it was reduced to pulp, and so would not pose a hazard to structures nearby.
I thought that the life of a buri tree is a beautiful analogy for the kind of life I want to live.
I then wrote in my journal: “I would like to be a buri, not fancy or simply ornamental but useful and giving much of itself for years and years; holding itself up with great dignity and beauty till the very end, but during what normally should be the fading away of life, it flowers in great beauty not only to say goodbye but also to give new life.
I hope to live the life of a buri palm tree, and be remembered by family and friends as such.—CONTRIBUTED
The buri product seen here, handwoven by women from Sorsogon, are available at Gifts and Graces Fair Trade Foundation showroom,
3/F, LRI Design Plaza, 210 Nicanor Garcia St., Bel Air II, Makati City.