How I Spent My Summer Vacation

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, 
while I, 
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.
Thank you.
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.
Happy Birthday!!!
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!


Sarah McCormick said...

Look at all the glorious details! I got lost in it for a while. What a lovely story and a wonderful gift for your brother. I can see how much you care about him, it makes me smile :)

k.h.whitaker said...

Just beautiful Ces, I'm lovin all your hidden creatures. You are amazing. The happiest of birthdays to your brother. Wow, you all have very close together birthdays. :)


martinealison said...

Ma chère Ces, ton frère est semblable à tous ces petits papillons que j'entrevois dans ton magnifique dessin.
Il connaît toutes les formes et les recoins, toutes les senteurs, toutes les couleurs des végétaux... Il est devenu végétal lui-même!!...
Je souhaite un joyeux anniversaire à ton frère en sachant que sans toi ou sans lui ou sans ta famille il n'aurait pas lieu d'être...
Gros bisous à vous tous et continue de m'émerveiller.

Rod MacGregor said...

Wow Ces...I finally found him...great work all around as usual!!!!

Bella Sinclair said...

Oh my my my my. Happy birthday to your brother! I don't know which I enjoyed more, your incredibly detailed drawing or your poetic greeting which had more words that I cannot pronounce than an ingredient label. Your drawing is a great reminder of how we are dwarfed by the grand splendor and diversity of nature. Amazing! Tsup Tsup!!!

steveroni said...

So far I have only viewed the jungle picture. After that vacation, I hope your brother is by now out of ICU and in Rehab, and be "fit-as-a-fiddle" (-grin!) soon.

So I blew up this depiction of God's Greenery, and found--yess, I SAW parts of your brother, still in his boots. I saw that before you said your brother was in there. Also i saw that big spider? on "stage left". And bunch of other little "Cessians".....

AMAZING--God will have to prepare a room where you can paint when that part of Eternity unfolds!

NOW I'm going back to read the "rest-of-the-story" and if it interests me (heeheehee!) I'll comment once more. Or twice?

steveroni said...

WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! Now you took ME into a jungle vacation...the 7-hour one, at least.

I asked a leaf outside front door, about these other Peeps. Even though they relatives, he never heard of them, couldn't even pronounce their names: "...caudate, crenate, cordate, dentate, lanceolate."

They must have been named by worms, because each name ends in "ate"...

I have immunity from poison ivy (and mosquitoes) so I went right in looking for Ernesto, found him, like, running through the woods, as I remember Tarzan of the Apes.

Over on the FB picture it looks as if the whole family is in there, helping Ernesto have a good time!!!

Very interesting piece, a fine tribute to a brother on his Birthday. Thank for sharing all of this!

Deborah said...

I finally found your brother and now you want me to find more???? I saw the moth, butterflies,caterpillars, which I thought were worms but I happy they are caterpillars. What a magnificent jungle/forest. Yes, now I have poison ivy. Happy Birthday to your brother! **kisskiss** Deb

Tammie Lee said...

i looked and looked and almost gave up and then there he was taking a photograph! i saw some of the wonderful critters, surely not all. so much love between you and your brother! yes!

Deborah said...

HA! No, MeowMeow did not eat her friend's shoulder...one of the chihuahua's did!!! It's actually a dog toy, but Officer Bill takes all the toys out of her basket every day and the kitty just happened to settle down in the middle for a nap! But MeowMeow IS a biter.

Hope you are having a good day. **kisskiss** Deb

Marie S said...

Happy Birthday Ces,to you and your brother.
What a poem, so many words I need a dictionary. Beautiful and thoughtful.
I love the drawing and I am happy to see you are still hiding things in them. I love that.
Madi is growing up so fast, I am afraid to close my eyes, I might miss the next inch.
She is going to be taller than the rest of us for sure.
She is bright and fun and says things like "that is ridiculous" and "of course".
Makes me smile all day long.
Take care and smooches!

Curious Art said...

Oh what a lucky brother... & I don't mean because he got to see all those jungle delights, although that's definitely lucky too... but mainly he's lucky to have a sister like you!

I felt just this deliciously small when I was in the old growth forest... as though I could hide behind a tuft of moss or lobe of lichen... I wish now that I had taken more photos, but at the time I was too stunned to do anything but look (& weep with joy)!

Shirley said...

Happy, happy birthday CES!! Oh goodness, this post fills me with such happiness. I see the two of you skipping and smiling and whacking those branches amongst the gifts of the jungle. You describe all of this tremendously for us..and to know you can close your eyes and feel that again with photos from your dear brother (happy, happy birthday!) is what makes this post so warm and full of love. I love that you love your family with your whole heart..even the yucky stuff. Always so wonderful to visit you - it's been far too long and I apologize...life and work and good times with my family have kept me busy and away but not for too long. I am SO glad to see your wonderful, incredible art (yes, I spy your sweet brother spying on something interesting!) and your even more detailed and descriptive words of that life that you have lived and still live to this day. It's awesome how images can transport you to another place in time. You've captured this perfectly dearest Ces! Tsup!!

illustration poetry said...

happy birthday to your brother!!!! yes yes i found him :D

i am still painting Gemini, ok, visit you later, take care i miss you tsup

GigngGing said...

Cecille! I just showed your blog to my family and fiends and they were stunned! In a good way, I mean. They were so awed by your art. I told them what you do for a living and they can't believe you are doing these just for fun. LOL! Happy Father's Day to Robert.

Nora MacPhail said...

That is truly magnificent. Just beautiful.

Ces Adorio said...

Hehehe. Thank you. I hope those fiends are your friends. Take care Ging.

Ces Adorio said...

Dear friends,
Thank you very much for your visits and comments. I hope summer is treating you well. Keep cool.

Andrew Finnie said...

Oh Ces, I see that time h as not dimmed your art. I want to see a book of your work. I want to see it NOW and I want to show my f riends and say "I know this lady, she is my friend, so there.'

I hope your eyes are going good, don't forget to dot them ;)

Alexiev said...


Best wishes from Buenos Aires...

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