Sunday, August 25, 2013

Landscaping and philosophy

Landscaping and philosophy
Dr Abe V Rotor 

I observed a gardener arrange a piece of landscape at UST.  I was on my way to meet my class in the graduate school, but this time this kind gardener became my mentor. 

A layer of stones around the base of a tree and at the blind corner of a building makes a neat and clean appearance.   It transformed a taken-for-granted area into something Japanese and American and Filipino combined.  

It made me wonder if there is a purist version of a landscape, say strictly Italian, or French, or Chinese. None as I know, except that certain emphasis expresses a nationality.  For example, the Japanese garden is basically made of rocks and stone and sand.  An American garden is perhaps the closest to nature - it runs its course like a flowing stream or a climbing liana. What amazes me is the fine taste of artisans, who we think are not sensitive to "fine arts."  On the contrary they do - some better than us.

So the fellow - Jun, sir he said when I asked his name - demonstrated the steps.  He laid down a mat of used plastic with holes he added with a pick.  So that water with not accumulate, he explained, and stones and soil are separated. The plastic will asphyxiate weeds that grow from below. I supplied the term from his vernacular term. 

To break the monotony of the stones he planted peanut grass on the periphery, and covered the drainage cover with stones - camouflage was what he meant.  And how about emphasis? Just a boulder he couldn't take away from view. It's there and it's part of it.  Jun is a philosopher, too. 

I received more than knowledge itself.  I learned a lesson in life from a simple man who simply love his work, and willing to share it. Which led me to ask, What really is a professor?

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