I once heard a story of a town whose inhabitants did not know each other. They didn’t even care to know one another. Each of them was too busy working hard to chase after their own successes. Kids did not play with neighbours kids. People don’t greet one another at the local supermarkets. Weekends were mostly spent shut behind closed doors.
The local church? It was already left empty since its last pastor passed away in 1984. The old brown Christmas photos of that year still hanging on the walls were the last reminder of once a loving, tightly knitted community.
When a strong hurricane ripped through this little town. Power lines were down and telephone lines broken. In the midst of this trouble, something amazing happened. Destruction brought about beauty. Many looked up to see the stars in the sky for the first time. Instead of being lost in the day-to-day troubles of making ends meet, people realized that they were part of something much bigger.
Once the minds were opened, there was no turning back that discoveries that would happen. It was like their senses awakened to the beauty that surrounded them at every moment but was ignored in the pursuit of success.
The hurricane, they now say, were the much-needed winds of change that awakened their souls.
Be it by driving or taking the shuttle bus service, visitors headed to the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) will first pass through Kranji Road via Woodlands Road. There you will find heavy industrial factories on both sides of the road.
Duty trucks carrying gravels and loud honking from motorists makes the first-time visitor wonder if they are on the right track to the nature reserve. At least it made me wonder…
I was on my way to visit the newly opened extension area of the nature reserve. With $29 million spent on the extension, 30% more space has been added to the Reserve. It has been made to be more family friendly, including a play area and an obstacle course added as activities. I’m looking forward to seeing the new coastal trail and the suspension bridge.
SBWR is not your typical swashbuckling adventure ground. But if you are seeking a moment to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and get up close and personal with nature, this is the right place for you. For there are many lessons to learn from Earth and her vast array of creatures and elements.
Earth teach me courage, as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me limitation, as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom, as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation, as the leaves which die in the fall.
Over my 2 hours at the Reserve, I found myself being able to take solace in nature once again. I met no more than 5 people during my time there, so if you want to avoid the crowds in the new extension, be sure to plan a weekday trip.
It is easy to get lost in the major details of life. We must sometimes work hard to meet our basic needs. Once those needs become “wants,” however, we begin to lose a bit of ourselves in our quest to have things.
With a visit to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, the senses are opened just as those in that hurricane-swept town experienced the first night they got to see the expanse of stars that was always above them. There is perfection in every moment, but we must change our perspectives to see this perfection.
When we are in a hurry, we will not see how perfect the dew sits on a blade of grass. We do not see the simple majesty that allows a simple seed to be carried by the wind so that it too can grow into something incredible.
Each of us has a dream to pursue, but let us not lose sight of who we are in that pursuit.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Centre (Neo Tiew entrance) Take a taxi or a bus (Take Service 925 from Kranji MRT Station. On Sundays and Public Holidays, alight at the entrance of the Reserve [bus stop 49209]; on other days, alight at Kranji Reservoir car park B [bus stop 49199], follow the signs and take a leisurely 15-minute walk).
Sungei Buloh Visitor Centre (Kranji entrance) Take a taxi, or a bus (Take Service 925 from Kranji MRT Station. On Sundays and Public Holidays, alight at PUB Quarter [bus stop 49211]. On other days, alight at Kranji Reservoir car park B [bus stop 49199]).
Mondays to Fridays: 7.30am to 7pm
Weekends and Public Holidays: 7am to 7pm
Entry is free
Free Guided Walks Every Saturday morning, visit http://bit.ly/1mxncl7 to register. Guided walks are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Reference Materials used in this post
1. A Ute prayer quoted in Earth Prayers from Around the World
2. The White-bellied Fish Eagle, commonly spotted at SBWR – image from Wiki
3. NParks media release
More pictures from Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Extension