How My Brother Spent His Summer Vacation. Pigment ink 8"x10" on 11"x14" Bristol Board. Click on image to enlarge (this time I posted large) to illustrate the hidden wonders but only for those who see...do you see my brother?
For My Brother:
My brother, the electrical engineer, Mathematics professor, recorder of flora,
Went all over the volcano mountain island
filled with wonders and came back with nary a souvenir,
not even a pebble.
I am very proud of you.
I wonder if I could have restrained myself
and risked smuggling a seed or branch...just kidding.
No oak. No quercus. No cyclobalanopsis.
Ah! But we have passiflora,
platycerium superbum and alocasia macrorhizzos to start with a few.
Thank you my dearest brother for sharing your summer vacation escapades,
of mountains, streams, rivers, waterfalls and seas,
of forests, parks, preserves and gardens,
rice fields, farms and jungles,
of cities old and new, large and small,
of roads paved, rugged, steep and dangerous,
as if the land and rocks are protecting something by avenging the invasion into
the inner sanctum,
react with vengeance,
kill and maim those who dare to drive recklessly and naively
in their luxury cruiser.
I see views majestic, awesome, bothersome, wholesome,
Of gatherings with friends old and older and best,
stuck at my desk with a total of seven hours of vacation time
lived vicariously through you.
Thank you for your meticulous capture of plants rare and strange,
with names Latin, Ilonggo, English all equating
to one word and for my lack of eloquence
I filled your wall with - "Wow!"
Thank you for not banning me even though I complained about the technicalities
and for publicly fussing about you and your eyesight
which you continue to ignore.
You really should take care of yourself!
Thank you for reminding me that the island I dismissed long time ago
as boring, hot and dull
is full of wonder and awe.
Filled with trees pregnant with berries on their trunks,
With shape that define the horizon and make it so Ilonggo, Negros, so familiar
I have flashbacks in sepia tone and black and white
and I am a young girl running, running, running with a stick in my hand,
Whacking the bushes, here and there and I stop,
for once again I see the flowers and
I close my eyes:
I climb a tree,
cradled by its branches and have fallen asleep
as I envision everything around me:
These are leaves,
gigantic and wide as the widest umbrellas or fans which
as kids we propped over our heads when there was a sudden downpour!
Ah yes, leaves so familiar,
caudate, crenate, cordate, dentate, lanceolate.
With surfaces so glabrous, this one glaucous
and that one farinose - is that even natural?
Yes it is!
Of strange-shaped plants and flowers
with ties and ribbons, bells, tails, fangs, fins and teeth,
thorns, warts, weeping wounds,
dripping with sticky liquid trapping prey and invaders.
Of monocot and dicot,
Richly taunting our imaginations
of passion, cock's comb, cat's tail, jock strap, stag horn
until we ran out of words we simply called them
body parts that will make me blush.
So many flowers and plants I have, never before in my life, seen until now...
Because you clicked your camera...
while you prostrated yourself on the ground to capture the tiniest flower, the eyes can see.
Will you please stop the car once in a while so I can really see the details of that
mucronate one with intercalary veins along the canals?
Or that elliptical...
(Look out for leaves-of-three!)
Never mind, I see the plants and flowers so strange, so different, mysterious,
bulbous, umbelliferous, velutinous.
I should be happy.
I am happy.
Yet I feel an aching, nagging sensation
Of anxiety and sometimes fear and
my heart sinks...
We never saw them before because they were in the JUNGLE!
But now I see they paved the road and in the midst
a concrete swimming pool.
Maybe they will domesticate the wild flowers and plants
to please the vacationers
and those who come from abroad and buy the wild lands.
Perhaps they will think of some grande idea
and consider themselves worthy for doing something for humanity by
exploring the jungle and fencing it in then turn it into a "Preserve!"
"Fifty pesos admission fee please." (To help preserve the jungle)
(We have airconditioned rooms and swimming pool)
How grande indeed is man's folly.
And thus begins a new taxonomy of plants:
This one will cost more than the others, we keep.
And cast some as more desirable than others
and label this "precious" and that one "weed' we kill.
I see these words so prominent throughout the island:
No no no no no no no no no...
You and I long for
Let it be...
Thank you for taking me on your summer vacation.
I hope the plants and trees will still be there next year.
I love you.
Ah wait a souvenir indeed - the revenge of the shy plants. :)
I hope you are feeling better.
Did you find the rat, the dragonflies, the beetle, the ants, the bees, moths, snake, butterflies, catterpillars...whew!
Now you have poison ivy!
My brother's birthday is not until later this month but since he was the first one to greet me on my birthday (he is 12 hours ahead of our time here), I want to be the first one to greet him, weeks in advance!