Monday, August 6, 2018

Countryside scenes showing valuable lessons in life

"Go to the countryside and live life away from heavy traffic, crowded community, polluted air and surroundings. Stop, look, listen - and more importantly appreciate Nature." - avr

Dr Abe V Rotor

Drynaria fern on acacia (Tagudin, Ilocos Sur); Acacia tree (Samanea saman
with epiphytes, ADMU-QC

Go to the countryside and live life away from congested traffic, crowded community, 
polluted air and surroundings.  Stop, look, listen - and more importantly appreciate
nature, such as these trees laced with lianas and ferns.  Wonder at the the workings of mutualism and  cooperation we sometimes mistake as parasitism. Is this a design of successful evolution?  Instead of competition, cooperation; instead of isolation, union of compatible species. On the humanities side, why don't you write a verse or two, take some photographs, sketch or paint.  Or compose a simple melody, or a prayer?. 

Carabaos beating the summer heat on flowing stream near a 
bamboo bridge. 
(Agoo, La Union)

It's our national symbol for agriculture - the water buffalo or carabao, the most important beast of burden even in our times of agricultural mechanization. Kids don't know much about the carabao.  It's our duty as grownups to introduce this domestic animal, now a threatened species, in a number of ways:  First, it pulls the plow and harrow, and the wooden cart for transport.  Second, it lives an aquatic life virtually speaking, it wallows in mud and make a miniature pond which serves as habitat of fish, frogs, snail and other freshwater species. Here these organisms aestivate in summer, then "resurrect" in monsoon and spread out and multiply and become popular viand to the locality. Third, association of the carabao and the heron is a romantic piece for the arts. It is a favorite subject of Amorsolo (painting), Abelardo (music), local artisans (sculpture), folklore and legend. Fourth, how is our carabao related to the American bison, and other buffaloes of the world? By the way, have you traced the nesting ground of the heron? These are areas of scientific research that invite our children as future biologists and naturalists.   

Mek-mek, a baby goat orphan is bottle-fed by children in the neighborhood. 

You may choose your pet, but when a motherless newly born goat nudges you for milk thinking you are its mother, would you simply ignore?  Mek-mek is one month now, she has yet to find grass palatable.  That will be the time to wean her.  Wonder how a goat becomes a house pet. And a neighborhood pet as well.  Children come around and curiously find out if a goat is like a dog or cat.  Does it purr, bark, stand, does tricks. Can she be an errand, a guard, live in the bedroom, accompany children to school, have puppies and kittens (kids)? These arouse children's curiosity outside their school.  Education is endless and has no borders. So with love.  It may start with an orphaned baby goat.   

Kapok (Ceiba pentandra); deciduous talisay (Terminalia catappa) in autumn colors,
 La Mesa Dam, QC

Yes, trees change clothes, too, once or twice a year.  Not for the reason we humans do, but for what Nature has designed them to do:  that is, to allow the sun to bathe their whole being and get rid of pests, diseases, and dried twigs. Nature prepares them for the winter in cold countries.  In the process ground plants receive sunlight and nourishment and  before the trees gain back their crown, they shall have completed their short life cycle and once more lie dormant. Earthworm, mushroom, and a host of organisms in the ground get similar benefit as well. We call trees that completely shed their leaves as deciduous.  They form new and fresh crowns thereafter.  Come autumn in temperate countries and behold the spectacular view of ripening leaves in yellow, orange and red, then when the wind blows, they fall off like confetti and cover the streets, sidewalks, backyards and fields.  Listen to the music Autumn Leaves while watching the leaves fall to the ground and sweep on the ground.  

 Fruit laden nangka (Artocarpus integra) in Agoo, La Union; pineapple (Ananas comosus) in Tagaytay.

How bountiful is Nature, you can only guess from these photos: nangka laden with fruits from trunk to branches, and you won't believe it, even on its roots underground. On the other hand, pineapple, the only edible member of the Bromeliad Family, covers whole fields as far as the eyes could see on the sloping hills of Tagaytay in Batangas and Cavite. Fruits are food reserves of energy converted by photosynthesis from sunlight, indeed a great mystery beyond man's knowledge on how  energy is converted to matter.  And how matter is converted again into energy. No wonder when we eat fruits we gain reserves of energy, other nutrients notwithstanding, which we use in everyday work - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.     

Earthworm castings, La Mesa Eco Park, QC; Ant lion pits - traps to unwary
 preys (Agoo, La Union).

These two organisms live underground: earthworm and ant lion larva (ukoy-ukoy Ilk).  Earthworms are good housekeepers, they bring out their waste (castings) outside their burrow and become natural fertilizer, while the ant lion builds a funnel of sand that serves as pit trap to unwary ants and other small insects that become its prey. Children are not so keen at these subterranean creatures, they have to catch them as specimens in their science laboratory.  And what importance do they contribute to the living world? They are links to the food chain, they are part of the web of life. How?  Know more about them on the Internet or in the library, better still from your science teacher.  

Auricularia (tainga ng daga) and foliose lichen colonize fallen tree, Mt Makiling, Laguna; Maiden's hair fern on adobe rock wall, DLSU DamariƱas, Cavite

Don't look too far out, you may miss things under your nose such as these communities of mushroom on a fallen log, and fern growing on a stonewall.  
While you can't touch the mountain, you can with ease and comfort study the magical  Auricularia that lives with rain and dies in summer and rises to life again.  Or the Maiden Hair Fern (Adriantum) and imagine it were a real hair of a beautiful maiden. Science and art - how wonderful it is to weave them into a beautiful tapestry.
Only if we use of left (science) and right (creativity) brain in tandem.

Hidden garden in Metro Vigan; Vigan Radio transmitter 
tower hovers at dusk over buildings.

What a disparity: a beautiful garden like The Secret Garden of novelist Frances Hodgson Burnett on one hand, and an ultramodern community with a high frequency transmitter tower, harbinger of death over buildings and homes, on the other. Where is the Good Life? What is progress? Where does true happiness lie? Wonder what Paradise would be like if our first ancestors had lived there and bore many children and grandchildren, who too, ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge.

 Native products - buri bag, abel blanket, tinubong, etc. (Vigan tourists' center); Tree House on century-old acacia (Rosario, La Union);.Lapulapu monument in Cebu.

Native - a word taken for granted; to some, a reflection of the past.  It is history to indigenous people who have found themselves in the stream of modern society.  Native is traditional.  It is bias, I may say.  I still love native: native chicken, the bahay kubo, barong Tagalog, bamboo tree house, rattan chair, bayong, buri hut. Indigenous peoples once subjects of colonizers are gaining respect and recognition for their pioneer defiance against foreign invaders.  We have Lapu-lapu, first Filipino hero, and Mac-liing environment protector of the Chico River.  South America alone has produced modern day indigenous heroes such as Miriam Miranda, Honduran Garifuna Leader; and Marcos Terena, Brazilian Trailblazer.  The Unknown Soldier could be a native to his country.~

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