Ateneo De Naga high school 1980

Those who do not remember history are bound to live through it again.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Season Marvels

March 27, 2009

In my backyard garden, I have a handful of plants and trees that never fail to capture my attention and admiration during the brief moment when Spring season rolls in. The two trees that always becomes the center of my attention at the opening curtain of spring season are my Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida rubra) and also my Eastern Whitebud (Cercis canadensis alba). The branches of these two trees produce astonishingly beautiful flowers and it has become an annual tradition for me to watch the buds of their flowers open up to greet the new season.

I planted both trees in my garden four meters apart about nine years ago. The Eastern Whitebud is able to take full sun exposure and so I planted it on an open plot. The Flowering dogwood, on the other hand, is a type of tree that normally grows in cold climate. Since I live in southern California, our summer sizzling temperatures is sure to toast the dogwood’s leaves and so I decided to plant it on the eastern part of my house where it only receives the rays from the morning sun.

When the weather started to warm up signaling the arrival of spring, I made a daily habit of checking the status of the flower buds of my dogwood and whitebud trees. Last Saturday morning, our area received a light downpour and when I looked outside my dining room window, I was surprise to see that the flower buds of both trees had opened. Minutes after the rain stopped, I hurriedly went outside with my trusty camera and took a few pictures of the flowers on both trees. The following day, the sun shined the whole day and so I decided to take more pictures of the flowers just to capture its beauty.

The show that these two trees bring to my garden is an annual event for me but the spectacle it displays is very brief because the flowers wilt 10 days after they bloom.

This morning while a soft breeze of wind was blowing from the north, I watched the little flowers danced on the branches of the trees. While looking at the swaying flowers, I cannot help but be reminded that my son and daughter are like the flowers on my trees. They will bloom for a short period during their youth. After that brief moment, they will turn into a full grown man and woman wanting to step beyond the boundary of our fence. It made me realize that one day soon, my wife and I will have an “Empty Nest” because our children have grown and flown to the horizon.

There are times when I would ask myself if I am spending enough time with my children. Is our annual trip to the mountains of Yosemite and Mammoth lakes too short? Should we walk on longer trails during our long hikes in the surrounding mountains of Big Bear lake? Should I just throw our strict budget out the window and take more family trips to places like Niagara falls, Canadian mountains and Alaskan wilderness? The sands of time seemed to be sipping through the spaces between my fingers and there is no pause button to hold everything from moving on. I guess I just need to hug my children more and to crack jokes with them as much as I can while the worries of the world has not engulf their attention to the cruel realities of life.

It astonishes me to discover that my garden plants and trees provide not only beauty to my family’s eyes but they also provide lasting lessons to my soul. As an avid gardener, I have realized that my work in my garden will never be finished. There will always be seeds to sow, weeds to pull, plants to water, compost to pile, trees to trim and leaves to rake. It is pretty much like being a father to a family—the role will never cease. My wife will always depend on me to do repairs around the house, to fix our backyard, to keep our cars mechanically sound, to cook the daily meals and to give a guiding advice to my children when they are walking on a shaky path. But one of the most important duty that I believe I have as a father is to remind my children that in times of extreme hardship, they can always come home to our humble house where the meals are always hot, the beds are always warm and the garden will always bloom during spring season.

Sniffing the fresh air of spring and fatherhood.



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