Friday, November 21, 2008

writing between the cracks

i write between the cracks of my life, the narrow spaces i have left between my crafts, my friends, my nephews and nieces, my farm, my teaching classes, my liaison with the department of agriculture, my occasional treasure hunting, my meetings with the mayor, with my farmers, the members of my orgs. WOW! that’s a lot of tiny cracks! no wonder, my writings are limited to the few lines of my reflections – a poem maybe, or just ramblings of this romantic me. by the looks of it, i will never be able to write a novel. . .

because i am a farmer, living on my farm’s income and the meager income of a teacher who teaches not in the classroom –- which means i live month to month, riding on a wave of near-debt experiences that always threatens to strike for the kill -– i only have time to write also when i am not balancing the books. and i have become good at it, too.

so i write during my lull time like now, sometimes after bedtime, when suddenly i am awakened by the silence of the night. but these cracks in the walls of my life, though hair-line, are long and deep. within them, writing is the seam that holds everything together.

because i have so little time of my own (well, it actually depends on who looks at the “time” i have in my hands, “working women” will see i got lots of it, as if i do not work ) and certainly a little space in this corner of my room, with a vintage desk at the corner –- old, wooden, sturdy, much of my writing exists in my mind. shadowy characters appear as i sort my buttons after midnight, that even the sound of my “pet” lizard is a welcome intermission, thoughts come alive like movies in my brain. it's the space and silence, away from the tedium of household distractions, which allows my brain freedom to roam.

as i arrange my buttons according to the color wheel in my mind, ideas emerge from the shadows and morph into bright beings with struggles and traumas, longings but never regrets. and all the while a story world uncoils within my mind; a realm that only i can see or hear, but that seems as real to me as the wind, now feeling so christmassy, blowing into my room, causing my sheer curtains to dance, teasing my face, wiping off some tears that sometimes have gone astray. . .

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

trees at villa esperanza

Joyce Kilmer 1886-1918

i think that i shall never see
a poem lovely as a tree.
a tree whose hungry mouth is prest
against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
a tree that looks at god all day,
and lifts her leafy arms to pray;
a tree that may in summer wear
a nest of robins in her hair;
upon whose bosom snow has lain;
who intimately lives with rain.
poems are made by fools like me,
but only god can make a tree.

i find this poem emotional, spiritual and thought-evoking. when i see trees, i recite it in my mind.

i took the bus this morning, on my way to the department of agriculture to attend a seminar on corn crafts. and the bus was so fast, the line of trees was a blur. but when i chance upon a turtle-slow bus, i never get bored, as i look at every tree i pass by and "see" it.

i have already made my point with the casureco axe-men:

i know that they have to clear the electric lines, of branches and trees, but how they do it is criminal! every time they do their "clearing", it's reminiscent of super typhoon reming! and to make matters worse, they just leave the "debris" as is, where is!

H E L P!
can anybody teach them how to treat a tree?

treat trees right!
don't rob them of their majesty and splendor!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

of living alone and not caring much about it

i am alone, but never lonely. i do not need to live with loneliness, there are so many ways to keep myself from being lonely. the things that i like best is sitting on the verandah in the morning, with my mug of coffee and my sudoku puzzle book. no loneliness there! I am fortunate enough to be a good reader, so i lose myself in books. during christmas time it is a little harder, but this is the time that i write more. i do blogs about several different things. make friends on-line, they are not all bad, after all i am there.

family is very important to me, but i realized that not everyone has a family. if one has no family, one can still be alone, but not lonely. donate time, go to some day care center and teach kids art, go to a home for the aged, cheer up the folks there that have no family. visit a children's hospital, be a clown, i kid not, when i put on that clown face, suddenly, i am in a different world. i look funny, feel funny, but most importantly, it releases all my inhibitions so that i can be funny.

i love different cultures also, and it is so much fun to relate with people of different cultures and see just how unique we all are.

when i first started having online friends of varying cultures, what fun i had! and how educational! it is amazing how much you can find out about people just by asking. now, i believe i know a lot of cultures: german, swiss, scottish, indian, italian, australian, syrian, canadian, american.

another thing that can fend away loneliness is immersing myself in my collections, my crafts, my hobbies. . . my stamps, my buttons. there is always something to sort. . . especially my thoughts! how liberating!

just don't sit around and feel sorry for yourself. get up! get busy! get a fresh new outlook on life!

L I V E!

(again, and always,
my thanks to Ernst,
for making me "beautiful". . .
and letting me believe
and feel it. . .)

Friday, November 14, 2008

artful recycling

i do a conscious act – i glorify the old, the used and the vintage.
when i have some new “old stuff” that is when I am happiest.

i have recently received the most wonderful gift there is (for no occasion at all) – a vintage buttons lot of not less than 25 kilos. imagine the joy this has given me. (well, of course not all can imagine this).

i spend eons sorting them, and in the process, my thoughts are sorted out.

buttons have recently been my art material of choice.

our culture glorifies the new: trendy garments with built-in obsolescence, quickly lose appeal when they appear on the “what’s not” side of the “what’s hot” fashion column. so they’re relegated to the back of the closet….stuffed into a bottom drawer… and, if they’re not dumped into the trash, they eventually find their way to thrift and consignment stores where they languish under the humiliation of multiple markdowns and overpopulated racks.

a treasure often hides between purple power suits and polyester broomstick skirts. and the thrill of finding a mustard dupioni silk blouse or a fine gauge british wool dress makes the sometimes exhaustive searches worthwhile.
mixed patterns...salvaged silk...souvenir seams...collected buttons. . .stashed crocheted doilies. . .

recycling need not be so alien.
re-purposing is the need of our time.
whether you agree with me or not, doesn’t really matter, what matters is that when i re-purpose things, i am leading and living the example.
so, what keeps me buried in the pile of otherwise considered thrash?

my love for my art and my environment.

Monday, November 10, 2008

a baptism

true to the sacrament, the name of my farm was officially bestowed by a catholic priest (fr. yoyo gaite). i was thinking out loud, four years ago, contemplating on what to call my place, when i had lunch with friends in Naga, and we chanced upon fr. yoyo. i told him of my plans, well, my dreams, then, about that piece of idle agricultural land i inherited from my mother. i asked him about possible names, and was very insistent on using a spanish term, my forebears being of that race. i asked him about the local term we use, 'laguerta' and he told me, why not make it "la huerta" which literally means "the orchard". he went on suggesting: la huerta de rosario (the orchard of rosario - my mother), la huerta de los santos (the orchard of the saints - de los santos being our family name) and the shorter version stuck.
little did i know then that my dream of having my own garden, orchard, farm will propel me to what i now call my mission.

i had the honor
of putting up the name,
a landmark. . .
it is a beacon to
the lost,
and the found. . .

w e l c o m e!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

i am a steward of my own environment

a reconfirmation of my life's mission

the word “environment” conveys different things to each of us. one person might think of green forests, oceans, and mountains, another of grassy plains, and wildlife. when we consider environmental challenges, we may think of recycling or energy conservation, industrial waste or climate change. we tend to think of issues that are much larger than ourselves as individuals, and they can seem abstract at times.

but for me my environment is what literally surrounds me: the air i breathe, the water i drink, the land i walk on. my environment is my house, my yard, my garden, my street. it is my community, my country, my planet.

the cleanliness of the water in Waras river, or the Buhi lake, or Baao lake (which seems to grow larger or smaller, depending on which month you get a glimpse of it) for that matter, can affect what comes out of our tap. the cleanliness of the air in Naga City or in Iriga City, can and does affect what goes on in my lungs. And what comes out of cars, kitchens, and power plants affect not just me, but persons around the world for generations to come.

environmental concerns are both intensely personal, local and completely global. a garbage-filled “sulong” has the most impact on those who rely on it for drinking water, or for fishing, but it also damages an entire ecosystem. a heavily polluted city hurts the health of its own inhabitants as well as those hundreds of miles downwind. as i learn and understand more about the course of climate change, i become more acutely aware that there are no personal or local decisions. everything i do touches others.

and it makes me think, and think hard, and decide, and decide with conviction. and when i do that, i always remember that my decisions never really concern only me, myself, alone, singly.

i can make a difference. when i work on small projects that help only a few people, it can be hard to step back and see how i really am changing the world. it can be difficult to see how recycling old clothes, and turning the old, tattered fabrics into beautiful quilts that warm my lonely nights, how turning what used to be discontinued lines of beautiful buttons into wearable works of magnificent art, or recycling a letter envelope into pay envelope, of walking instead of driving, or using less water can really bring a better and healthier difference to the next generation.

what i know now, for sure, is that those small changes – these private, individual choices – can add up to something tremendous. the decisions i make may seem small, but they are nothing of the kind.

and i make myself remember that because i am an empowered rural woman (a rural legend, to quote Jun) i am a leader in my own circle, my community, and i have chosen to help lead the way to a better future, in the matter of environmental responsibility, as in all others, i must first lead by living the example, by making the choices that will bring me and you, a healthier tomorrow.