By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo
PEOPLE, all sorts of people, are attracted to flowers. They visit gardens as often as bees and attract other insects with their own intentions. They stop to look, to pick, and react in various ways that often ties the flowers with what they can remember. The other day, while I was watering the plants, an elderly lady stopped by, on her way to buy something at the corner store.
“Good morning, too! I always stop at your place to watch the swaying of the cosmos flowers. All my cosmos flowers and rosals (gardenias) were pulled out by the street workers hired by the city to clear the sidewalks.”
“Oh, yes! I know all about them. They cut the more than thirty-year old fire tree in 20 Maginhawa without getting a permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).”
“The Quezon City government wants to impose a one-meter clearance space from the road for pedestrians to walk on by cutting the trees that encroach on these areas, but all the cleared spaces are now used as parking spaces along Maginhawa and Malingap.”
“What hypocrisy is that? They have allowed the construction of the Teachers Village Barangay Hall to extend more than half a meter from the roadside, limiting the space for just one person to pass at any time, with a distance of less than a foot from the speeding vehicles.”
“That also happened in the road widening project along C.P. Garcia, the one-meter easement is now being used by the illegal settlers who occupy the place as parking lot and some have already claimed the space as their living space adorned with a clothesline. No monitoring and enforcement of the law. Talagang di sila nag-iisip, at di kumukonsulta sa mga taong apektado. (Truly, they do not think, and never consult those affected.”
A lady recognized the elderly woman and greeted her. I excused myself to get the cosmos seeds I just gathered and give some to replace the ones that were pulled out.
“Eto po, you can plant again. If by any chance they do not germinate, I will bring you some more.”
“Oh, thank you so much! I will make sure to plant them right away! Which reminds me I have to buy something at Yoly’s Store. Now, I forgot what I was going to buy!”
“Siyanga po pala, ano po pangalan nila? Ako po si Gie. (By the way, may I know your name, please? I am Gie.”
“Inta, Aling Inta. Short cut ng Vicenta. Nice meeting you, let us swap plants. Have to go now!”
I do not believe in accidents. This woman was sent to me by Auntie Intay, whose full name is also Vicenta. She was the sister of my mother who planted anything she can lay her hands on. She was the one who woke me up at four o’clock in the morning to gather sampaguita blooms along the highway to be put in the altar. She was the one who planted in coconut husks and other discarded items and hanged them on the beams of her roof. She was the one whose funeral I did not want to go to, hoping her energy remains and linger with the scents of the kampupots for a very long time. She is here, with each breath of the flowers, in my front yard.
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