Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Spot

I've moved my "spot" around a lot. Having a "spot" is a way of honoring the art of chilling out. It allows you to rest in the middle of a day of hard labor.

When I started gardening in earnest, about ten years ago, the spot was in a clearing in an overgrown empty lot beside my house. I had planted in the back of the lot. I created a path and installed a small found bench, around which a mess of edibles grew. I would sit and admire the wildness of the ipil-ipil puff around me, and how the trees dwarfed my little food production patch. I would hang out with Oakley (now dead), our mongrel friend. Sometimes, in time of intense stress, actually put my forehead against a tree beside my bench, and quietlly share my sentiments.

(Oakley, my late partner.)

The experience of loafing, or eating a snack, in a natural, beautiful environment is a far cry from doing the same in a mediocre setting. The sight of leaves, even in your peripheral vision, massages your soul. You feel calm. We've co-evolved with trees over millenia, taking in their waste oxygen as we give them our waste CO2. We are hard-wired to like them. We could do more to surround ourselves with them, if we were more in touch with our instinct.

My current thinking spot is marked by a table, made of some old marble and scrap wood from a shipping frame. The frame was used to protect a sack of pots that I brought to the pier in Mindanao. The shipping folks built it right there. It is pretty sturdy.

The marble is a piece of scrap that was left over when we built our house. We had previously put a large wooden angel head on it, then left it under some trees. The angel has long decomposed, after a career of looking positively creepy. The marble had been forgotten and covered by vines and leaves until recently. I dug it out, and put cacti on top, because I figured anything else would die in the intense summer heat if they were on a hot marble surface. The pot on the right was from an abandoned house in my old village. I got the cacti from a coastal town in Ilocos.

The rainy season is upon us and I hope to grow my little spot with some non-edibles like akapulko. The seedlings have sprouted wonderfully. I may even put some flowers. I must be getting older.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Singapore Food Plot

I hardly see edibles (aside from pandan) in Singapore. It's kind of strange, with even a larger void than urban Metro Manila. Of course, I can't claim to have seen the whole city-state, I do wish people here planted more. The greens beautify the city but could be multi-multi-purpose, providing beauty and oxygen and coolth and food. That being said, this little patch in Geylang gives me feelings of fuzziness everytime I pass by.

In Manila, most such gardens are tended by migrants. Are these grown by the Tamil immigrant workers who live in the area? Probably, given the inhabitant plants: papaya, squash, lime, curry tree, pandan, okra, pomegranate.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Taking Over

An unidentified tree breaks through the side of a concrete highway.