Saturday, August 30, 2014

Equisetum or Horsetail - the Remarkable Fossil Plant

 Looking back 150 million years ago through a fossil plant, the Equisetum or Horsetail. Once the understorey vegetation of Paleolithic forests where dinosaurs roamed during the Jurassic Period, the Equisetum has virtually remained unchanged, defying the forces of evolution that led to the extinction of countless unknown species and radical change into new forms of those that survived.  Not to the persistent Equisetum. It fact it is the only living fossil said to be of cosmopolitan in distribution today in all continents, except Antarctica. 
Dr Abe V Rotor



Equisetum is a "living fossil" as it is the only living genus in Equisetaceae,  a family of vascular plants that reproduce by spores rather than seeds, and the only living member of the entire class Equisetopsida. It is also called horsetail, snake grass, puzzle grass, scouring-rush, candock, and other local names.  
What makes a living fossil is a puzzle. But extreme adaptability is the general concept of survival through time and space. For the natural gene to be preserved is not only a matter of strict isolation from other genes. In fact the mechanism of gene exchange is the key, only that it is narrowed down - in the case of the horsetails -  within the only surviving genus, belonging to a single family, and a single class.  The proliferation of horsetails did not go stray and lose their genetic identity as to have evolved into indistinguishable species even if there are sub-genera, sub-family and hybrids.  

All horsetails today are distinctly and unmistakably the same morphologically and genetically. (A superficially similar but entirely unrelated flowering plant genus, mare's tail (Hippuris), is occasionally misidentified as "horsetail", and adding to confusion, the name mare's tail is sometimes applied to Equisetum.)
While horsetails grow in swampy places and considered wild, horticulturists have learned to plant them as ornamental purposes, admiring their unique characteristics displaying variations according to sub-types and hybrids. In Japan and Germany, the stems are bundled and used for scouring utensils and metals.  They are used in the final process in woodwork to produce a smoother finish than any sandpaper. 
Horsetails are a nuisance weed, unaffected by many herbicides designed to kill seed plants.  They have the ability to regrow from the rhizome after being pulled out. And because they prefer acidic soil, lime may be used to assist in eradication efforts. They have been declared noxious weeds in Australia, New Zealand, Oregon in the US, and other countries, although they are considered useful as food plant largely as alternative source, and likely influenced by ethnic background.  
Here is a report on horsetail as food.

"The young plants are eaten cooked or raw. The fertile stems bearing strobili (spore casing) of some species are cooked and eaten like asparagus (a dish called tsukushi) in Japan. The people of ancient Rome would eat meadow horsetail in a similar manner, and they also used it to make tea as well as a thickening powder. Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest eat the young shoots of this plant raw. The plants are used as a dye and give a soft green colour. An extract is often used to provide silica for supplementation. Horsetail was often used by Indians to polish wooden tools. Equisetum species are often used to analyze gold concentrations in an area due to their ability to take up the metal when it is in a solution." (Wikipedia, citations and more data needed)

For its medicinal uses the same source reports.
"Extracts and other preparations of E. arvense have served as herbal remedies, with records dating to ancient Greek and Roman medical sources; its reported uses include treatments to stop bleeding, treat tuberculosis, to heal wounds and ulcerations, and to treat kidney ailments. In modern times, it is typically used as an infusion. Reliable modern alternative medicine sources include cautions with regard to its use. In 2009 the European Food Safety Authority issued a report assessing some specific health claims for E. arvense—e.g., for invigoration, weight control, and skin, hair, and bone health—concluding that none could be substantiated.
There is insufficient evidence to draw conclusions regarding its effectiveness as a medicine for all human conditions described. Even so, E. giganteum preparations are widely used in South America as an orally administered diuretic to reduce swelling caused by excess fluid retention and for urinary infections, bladder and kidney disorders. Horsetail preparations contain silicon, so they are sometimes suggested as a treatment for osteoporosis (brittle bone disorders)
Some Equisetum preparations are reported to have a high content of thiaminase, which may induce edema and cause lack of motor control (e.g., limb coordination), putting a person at risk of injury from fallingbradycardia (slowed heart-rate) and cardiac dysrhythmia are further negative side effects. Since horsetail contains nicotine, it is not recommended for young children." (Wikipedia, with citations and more data needed.)
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Caution: If eaten over a long enough period of time, some species of horsetail can be poisonous to grazing animals, including horses. The toxicity appears to be due to thiaminase enzymes, which can cause thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. 
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Practical pest control methods

Practical pest control methods
Dr Abe V Rotor
 Golden apple snail (Pomacea caniculata) is the number 
one pest of rice plants today in the Philippines. They lay 
pink eggs in clusters above the water level ensuring 
viability and high survival. 

1.  Snails (kuhol) are controlled with tubli, makabuhay and other plants.
Before the introduction of chemical pesticides our native kuhol was a good source of viand in the ricefield and seldom did it turn against growing rice plants. Almost simultaneously in the sixties the golden kuhol or apple snail (Pomacea caniculata) was introduced with the promise that it is a better gourmet, and that it could even be exported.  It did not turn out that way, and with the resistance this exotic mollusk developed having left behind its natural enemies, it emerged a maverick, now the number one pest of rice plants infesting two-thirds of our total lowland ricefield area of no less than two million hectares. Agriculturists have lately turned their attention to phytochemicals to control golden kuhol.  These are the plants they have confirmed to be effective.
·         Derris philippinensis (derris or tubli)
·         Manihot esculenta (cassava)
·         Chrysanthemum morifolium (chrysanthemum)
·         Capsicum anuum (pepper or siling labuyo)
·         Tinospora rhumpii (makabuhay) - Photo, below
·         Azideracta asiatica (Neem) 

Except for siling labuyo, the leaves and stems of any of these plants are either crushed or chopped finely and applied directly on the ricefield, controlling the water level up to three to four inches so as to allow the active ingredients to spread out and reach the pest in all of its stages. Where there are two or more of these plants growing in the area, farmers may use them in any combination, either alternately or simultaneously.

2. Incense rids chickens of lice.  It also calms them down. 
I learned this practice from my father when I was a farmhand. We raised native chickens on the range.  In the evening, we would occasionally smoke the fouls in their roasts under the house. “That would rid them of lice (gayamo’ Ilk),” my father assured me. “And pick a cull for tomorrow’s dinner,” he would add. 

I would sprinkle powdered incense into live charcoal and you could see the column of smoke rising and filling the roasting area.  You could hear the fowls cockle feebly, slowly loosen their feathers and pry their wings as if to allow the cloud of smoke to bathe them. Soon they are lulled to sleep or go into a kind of trance; you could pick them up without any sign of resistance. Without this calming power of incense, the slightest move you make on a roasting chicken would send it squawking in the night.~

Biological Control - Preying or praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) is the number one executioner in the insect world, a friend to farmers and gardeners. 



  

Painting and Poetry: Fish Incognito

Dr Abe V Rotor
A School of Grouper Fish (38" x 26"), AVR.
Fish, tell me where you live, your home;
The ocean is so huge to be your own;
Fish answers: I am a fugitive in pursuit,
Hunted or hunter whichever may suit.

Fish, tell me of your kin and your shoal;
How you live together as a school;
Fish answers: I live by the rules of the sea,
By number and luck, and by being free.

Fish, tell me if I am friend to you, or a foe;
I gave you a name, regard you with awe;
Fish answers: Neither, I'd rather be unseen,
Far from the dreadful fate in your cuisine. ~

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sentry Skippers

Dr Abe V Rotor

Your dainty wings spread shining,
sowing tiny dots in waning light;
if my evening is your morning,
would you be my sentry tonight?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Scenic Rural Iloilo from the Air

Scenic Rural Iloilo from the Air

Take me for a moment away from you, Mother Earth,
higher than the highest mountain, the tallest building,
that I may view life whole and solid and unabridged
in a perspective beyond details, and without stirring.

Photos and Poem by Abe V Rotor


 Biggest spotlight - the sun - reveals a typical farming community, the fields
basking with the golden color of grain and color of the earth after harvest.
  Geometric parcels of farmland in parallel formation apparently 
   show diversified farming and system of crop rotation. 
 
It's the peak of summer, and the rains have not arrived.  
Green patches are fields irrigated from shallow wells.
Residential houses huddle on one side of a creek (left); farms 
undergo fallowing, a resting period in summer.
Misty air  looms over the dry landscape - a prelude to monsoon
 
This fringe of land appears to have a sub-climate of its own influenced by the surrounding sea, while the rest of the island undergoes the normal dry season. 



  The uplands were once covered with forests and grasslands, 
now converted into agriculture and settlements.  
A wisp of smoke greets the lazy morning air from among 
the trees  that line a creek appearing like a miniature forest.  
A unique symmetry created by a natural waterway crowded with trees that form a natural windbreak and  sanctuary of surrounding organisms specially in summer. 

Take me for a moment away from you, Mother Earth,
higher than the highest mountain, the tallest building,
that I may view life whole and solid and unabridged
in a perspective beyond details, and without stirring:

I see clouds shrouding you from the sun and blue sky,
in cumulus like giant mushroom on the horizon, rising,
and released into nimbus, becoming heavy, falling as rain
in the accompaniment of wind, thunder and lightning.

I see rivers swell and lakes fill to the brim in monsoon,
flooding fields and pasture, spilling through the valley,
meandering, roaring over waterfalls and boulders,
resting in swamps and estuaries, then flowing to sea.  
  
I see farmers in the field, women and children, too,
and work animals pulling the plow and the harrow;
I hear singing and laughter and joyous conversation,
barking of dogs, cackling  of fowls trailing the furrow.

I see harvesters gather the golden grains by hand;
drying shocks in the sun, and building  haystacks;
I see flocks of pigeon and native chicken gleaning,
women and children, the sun setting on their backs.  

I see the fields scorched, a smoke here and there - 
bush fire! when the grass dries up bursts into flame
spreading all over, burning anything on its path - 
what a waste! but it is nature's work and game. 

I see poor harvest, good harvest, where and why,
crops early or late, and fields never planted at all;
I see farming a way of life, farming as a business,
and farm life in all seasons, happiness is its goal.

I see children flying kites of various makes and colors,
beside them grownups cheering, coaching, flying
their own kites too, oh, they have not forgotten
the art of their childhood, so do I, reminiscing.

I see children playing patinterotrompo and sipa,
games of old folks when they too, were children;
games of beetles and spiders as gladiators;
palo de sebo and pabitin cannot be forgotten.   

I see tourists, I see balikbayan, I see old and young;
familiar and unfamiliar faces, sweet, shy, and bold;
I see children going to school, housewives to market,
people of all walks of life, always on the move. 

I see the hills and mountains, to me they're the same,
but where have the forests gone, the pasture?
I see the rivers, the lakes and ponds old as they are,
I have always loved all of these as I love nature.  

I have seen enough, let me return, Mother Earth,
to my home, sweet home, on the farm, to my family;
and tell them of what I've seen in my short sojourn; 
down below I saw my friends, my neighbors, and me. ~  


Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Many Worlds of the Willow Tree


Dr Abe V Rotor


The weeping willow (Salyx sp) looks sad and in mourning, its leaves droop and are pointed downward, extending to the ground or water where it grows on river banks and pool sides. Like a Narcissus, its reflection is an illusion of awe and wonder, and fear. 

The drooping branches though makes a perfect promenade shade and shelter; it is a favorite subject of art and poetry. 

Author under a willow tree (Salyx sp). UST campus, Manila

At the slightest breeze, the tree "weeps" in whispers, and sways daintily without any apparent effort. Few dare to plant willow by the window - it transforms into a spiritual being to the superstitious, and courts bad luck to the pessimist. 

But the willow is an important tree. Where it grows it creates an ambiance of mixed feelings, and to many cultures it is a tree that is much revered - and feared. Overall all, the world is not what it is without the willow - weeping to the sorrowful, hissing and vibrant to the hopeful, romantic to the lover, sacred to the religious, miracle cure to the healer.
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Direct crude extract (ground fresh leaves) repels mosquitoes and flies. It also serves as fresh deodorant in the bathroom and kitchen.  Dilute with tap water at 1:4, filter with ordinary cloth, and spray (atomizer) on garden plants and in dark corners. Another preparation is by dissolving the fresh extract with ethyl alcohol 1:2 ratio, air dry, and add Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly to the powder residue. This serves as ointment of minor wounds and skin problems.    
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The Importance of the willow tree
Medicine -

  • The leaves and bark of the willow tree contain Salicin which is metabolized into salicylic acid in the human body. 
  • Precursor of aspirin. 
  • Salicin is isolated in crystalline form and formulated as acetylsalicylic acid, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. 
  • Provides temporary relief. 
  • Ancient remedy for common ailments to the Sumerians, Greeks and Native Americans 
  • Claimed to be effective in cure of diseases including cancer. 
Agriculture - as source of nectar and pollen for bees. 

Energy - biomass and biofuel, 

Art
  • Charcoal for drawing, wood for sculptures 
  • Garden features and landscaping 
  • Pen and ink paintings in China and Japan
Environment
  • Hedges and landscaping 
  • Land reclamation, soil building and soil reclamation
  • Phytoremediation,(bioengineering) 
  • Slope stabilisation and soil erosion control 
  • Biofiltration, shelterbelt and windbreak 
  • Wildlife habitat
Religion
  • Ritual in Jewish holiday of Sukkot, and Buddhism
  • Christian churches in northwestern Europe and Ukraine use willow branches in place of palms on Palm Sunday. 
  • In China, some people carry willow branches on the day of their Tomb Sweeping or Qingming Festival
  • Willow branches are put up on gates and/or front doors, to ward off the evil spirits. 
  • The Goddess of Mercy Guanyin is shown seated on a rock with a willow branch. 
Literature
  • Ancient Korean poem goes, "By the willow in the rain in the evening." The poet Hongrang to her parting lover wrote, "...I will be the willow on your bedside."
  • In Japanese tradition, the willow is associated with ghosts. It is popularly supposed that a ghost will appear where a willow grows. Willow trees are also quite prevalent in folklore and myths.
  • In English folklore, a willow tree is believed to be quite sinister, capable of uprooting itself and stalking travelers.
  • Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story called "Under the Willow Tree" (1853) in which children ask questions of a tree they call "willow-father", paired with another entity called "elder-mother"
  • Old Man Willow in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, appearing in The Lord of the Rings.
  • "Green Willow" is a Japanese ghost story. Other stories: "The Willow Wife" and "Wisdom of the Willow Tree."
  • Remember "The Willow in the Wind?"

Monday, August 18, 2014

Your Backyard as Laboratory and Workshop: Entomology - the Science of Insects

The science of Insects is one of the least explored fields of biology because of their extreme diversity both genetic and environmental, their incredible persistence and wide adaptation. But to a keen observer, entomology can start on the backyard with unending source of specimen throughout the year. Take these examples. 
   
Dr Abe V Rotor


Click Beetle, Family Elateridae, Order Coleoptera, also called snapping beetle.  When the insect falls on it back, it snaps its neck to regain normal position.  Snapping can be clearly heard so that it becomes a game of sort. Ask "How many loves have I or she?" And the click beetle either remains still or clicks, sometimes in succession.


June Beetle, Leucopholis irrorata Family Scarabidae, Order Coleoptera, also called May beetle when the rains arrive early and the beetle metamorphoses early. Its larva called grub ius destructive to plants by eating the roots.  It lives almost a year underground, spends a week as pupa, then crawls out of the soil. The biological clock of ther June beetle - so with other organisms - leaves more puzzles than what science can explain. 


Left, Tussock Moth caterpillars (higad) Order Lepidopera devour a leaf of castor bean seemingly unaffected by the toxin ricinin, (from which the plant derives its scientific name - Ricinus communis) - one of the most poisonous substances in nature.  Right, a bunch of juvenile short horned grasshoppers (Oxya velox), Family Locustidae, Order Orthoptera. 

Naiad or young of the dragonfly, Order Homoptera, (left) in its last instar about to metamorphose.  It is aquatic in its naiad stage and feeds on mosquito wrigglers, other insects, daphnia, and the like, for many months, then metamorphoses into the winged cicada.  It leaves its skin cast intact, often on the trunk of a nearby tree (right photo). Only the male cicada can produce music, which is actually a mating call. The female is born mute and is attracted by the singing of the male. A good singer may attract as many as five females, which is not the case with other organisms, including humans.   

Wasp pollinator of fig (Ficus pseudopalma). Figs have inverted flowers, so that pollination and fertilization are done by a wasp (specific to the fig species).  It the female wasp which enters the posterior opening (operculum) of the flower which looks like fruity, pollinates and fertilizers the flowers, at the same time lays eggs which will produced the next generation of pollinators.  
Left, male rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros), Order Coleoptera.  The male has elaborate and long horns like a miniature Triceratops, which are indeed menacing to its enemy though useless as tool of aggression. Rhino beetles are among the major pest of coconut, the larva or grub bores into the heart of the tree destroying the young leaves even before they are formed.   Right, a stinkbug (Nezara viridula) Order Hemiptera, lay eggs in cluster.  It earns its name from its characteristic bug odor that is obnoxious to its enemies such as birds and frogs - and to humans. The substance is caustic to the eye and skin.   
Left, Cranefly, relative of the mosquito (Order Dipotera) is also called as daddy-long-legs.  It is constantly moving when it is supposed to be at rest. By swaying to and fro and side to side the insects is seen hazy to a would-be predator.  In Ilocano we call the insect gingined (earthquake) because of its continuous quaking action. Right, a lone caterpillar prepares to attack a bud of Hibiscus (gummamela).  It will metamorphose into a garden butterfly.    
A relative of insects (Class Arachnida) this Wolsey Spider, a hairy large common house spider carries its egg sack to safety in preparation to hatching. Spiders are biological agents feeding on insect pest like mosquitoes, leafhoppers and weevils. The Wolsey spider got its name from Bishop Wolsey, right hand man of Henry VIII of England in the 14th century, who nearly died of fright on finding this spider in his bed. Wolsey died not because of the spider but because of ire of his cruel master.      

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dreams bridge our past and present

In the dark I called Dad and Basang but I received no answer.

Dr. Abe V. Rotor
 
 This is  a true story.

I went to bed very tired. For the whole day before my birthday I put on extra effort to finalize the manuscript of my forthcoming book which I was going to submit the following Monday. The title is Light from the Old Arch, a compilation of essays I wrote through the years.


It was just past 10 in the evening and Cecille, my wife, who had gone to bed ahead of me stirred. “I’ll just check what we will have for breakfast,” she said as I stretched my aching back and tired brain and apparently fell asleep.
Dr. Carl Jung: foremost psychologist 
of the unconscious mind

Soon I found myself in complete darkness. I could not trace my way to switch on the lights and after several attempts locating it on the wall and under curtain, an inexplicable fear crept, a fear I had never experienced before. I was in a strange domain yet it had the features of my home. There was total darkness, total silence.

Dad died in 1981 at the age of 78. He died here in our residence at Lagro after battling with the  complications of diabetes. We buried him at Himlayang Pilipino. Our oldest son, Pao who died at three, soon joined him in the same grave two years after.

Dad was deeply affected by my Mama’s death during the Second World War. My sister Veny was four then, and my brother Eugene was three. Dad suffered much - emotionally and physically - even after the four years of Japanese occupation. The war left our family and the country in ruins.

We continued to live in San Vicente which is adjacent to Vigan, the capital of Ilocos Sur. Dad confessed when we were already big that he feared so much we would not make it through in life. I know how extremely difficult it was even if dad owned farmlands and a neo-colonial house which my grandparents built in 1900. The three of us children knew little of the joys of childhood. My only uncle, Uncle Leo left dad to raised his own family in Pangasinan. He seldom visited us and spent time in our big house where he, like my dad, and their four siblings were born. Uncle Leo was the eldest and dad was the youngest. The rest of their siblings died at a very early age of smallpox which killed many people in Ilocos.

Basang my auntie and yaya took care of me from the time my mother died. I was less than two years old then. She never left us even when I came to Manila for my studies. She died three years after dad had gone. Manang Veny called me to come home when Basang died. We buried her in the town cemetery close to our departed relatives. Just before she died she gave me an antique narra aparador which I now use in keeping my personal things. In our dialect, she said, “This is the only thing I can give you.”

“You have given me everything,” I said.

Going back to the incident of October 21, I called dad three times, then called Basang once. It was a call apparently in fear. I felt helpless and lost. I froze. I could not move. I could not shout. And when I knew no help would come, I struggled. I succeeded in moving my fingers, my toes, until I was free.

Cecille had returned to our bedroom. “Why, you are pale and perspiring? What happened?" she asked, perplexed. She fetched me a glass of water.

“Was I shouting?” I asked automatically. “No,” she said calmly.

“I was dreaming,” I said and told her the whole story.

Dreams are visions of the unconscious part of our brain. That is why they occur in our sleep, when we are not aware of things the way we perceive them with our senses. Dreams are not fashioned by rational thoughts and actions, and therefore we have no power to decide and to act according to that decision. We are entirely under the control of our unconscious mind.

“Even when we are deeply asleep the psyche is still actively producing dreams,” says Carl Jung. “We may not always be aware of these activities, any more than we are aware of our physiological activities, but this does not mean they are not taking place.”

According to Jung we remember only a few of our dreams, yet recent evidences suggest that we dream continuously throughout the night. There in our unconscious mind our psyche is very much alive, performing psychological work such as perceiving, remembering, thinking, feeling, wishing, willing, attending and striving – just as breathing, digesting and perspiring are physiological activities.

But can we choose psychic values? According to Jung, when a high value is placed upon an idea or feeling it means that this idea or feeling exerts considerable force in influencing and directing one’s behavior. A person may place a high value on beauty. Another on power. Or knowledge. On the other hand, there are those who place a high value on wealth, even on sex and vices. These create the themes of our dreams.

This is the realm of our unconscious mind. This is where Carl Jung parted way from his friend Sigmund Freud’s as he blazed the trail of the psychology of the unconscious, which led to applied psychology - psychiatry. We are governed not only by our conscious mind. We are actually governed in a much deeper and wider sense than we ever think. As we feed the unconscious with conscious thoughts and experiences, so the unconscious feeds the conscious mind. And this cycle goes on throughout everyone’s life, starting in the womb.

Even when we were children, the mind did not lose the information it received. They were deposited. First in the conscious, then deposited in the unconscious part of our brain, which are saved like in the computer. Now, the information is ready at hand to be retrieved. Touch the key and the info comes out on the screen – the screen of our consciousness.

How will this affect our present mind now that we are older? Jung said that the previous information serves as archetype. To better understand how this archetype works in relation to what we think at present, here is an example.

Suppose here is a person who happened to be a witness of a murder with his own eyes when he was still a small child. When he sees a suspicious person, the image of the murderer he saw many years ago flashes. It is the archetype coming alive.

Or take another example. A kindly gentleman comes and asks for a favor. We size him up in relation to people who have the characteristics this man possesses. If our experiences are agreeable, it is likely that we going to entertain this person.

The images of people, places and events are fashioned in many ways by archetypes. Unlike the computer, the mind spontaneously brings out the archetype that the brain appropriately needs at that moment. This is the basis of many of our decisions – and prejudices.

Through dreams the loaded unconscious finds relief. Information flows out in the form of dreams. Dreams may be happy or sad, fearful or pleasant. Or at intervals of moods and settings and characters, as if information keep on flowing out. Nature has given us a safety valve to maintain our rationality and to release us from the prison walls of memory. Thus the other safety valve is forgetfulness.

Psychiatry is based on this principle. Lying on a couch the patient unloads his burden, fears, and uncertainties. He releases the pressure. Through this process he reaches a state of catharsis. He is relieved. He can now sleep. He can now work again.

People who cannot attain catharsis may suffer of psychiatric problems and may resort to drugs.  Do you often wonder why people resort to drugs? Why there are more and more people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol?

Why, many people try to “escape” reality?

October 21 is a memorable day for me. By reading this story one is led to think that something supernatural controlled the event and situation. I told Cecille, “Dad and Basang came.”

“Let’s pray for them,” she answered and made the sign of the cross.

I know they did not come; I went to them. It was a special day, my special day.

I realized my fault which lays not so much in not remembering them often, but I have ceased to see them as the models that shaped my life. That was too long ago. I no longer see the lessons I learned from them that are still relevant to my present life. I do not call them anymore in the midst of my problems. I have grown up. I do not seek their intercession and guidance anymore.

It is remiss and folly of not showing true feelings to those we love, living or dead, all because “I am always busy”, and because there will be someday to make up for it. There are always reasons or alibis for failing to offer them prayers, to visit their graves, or just to make those who too, are close to them happy. Oh, there are many, many ways.

Time has changed, and change has polarized our worlds. So with values of old and of the present world. The generation gap syndrome is creeping fast, more so with my own children who too, will have a world of their own in the near future.

There in the dark I called Dad and Basang, their names clear and loud, but my voice just faded without answer, not even its own echo. It was eerie and mysterious. The unconscious was swelling and it found an exit in the dark, psychic energy released in dream. And there as I called them, I realized I was the one who is lost – and found myself again.

This is a true story.

x x x

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Santa is reborn in a little child

Dr Abe V Rotor
Mark, Little Santa Claus. 


I can't  miss the Season by association,
     whatever tells of it coming soon;
Amihan is here from far cold Siberia
     Sweeping across all of Asia -

Where the fields turn to gold in the sun,
     and harvesting a work and fun;
I gaze at the kites and birds mingle in the sky,  
     and let my thoughts and dreams to fly.  

I need not build a campfire far away
     to cheer my friends, or alone to pray; 
for here's Santa reborn in a li’l child   
     who brings along the Tidings mild. ~    

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Centenarian Niko

Centenarian Niko
Dr Abe V Rotor
Niko at 10; below, 5 years after
 Photos taken August 7, 2012 at the height of a super 
flood that hit Metro Manila and neighboring provinces. 

His bark resonates at the crossroad,
standing through his den, 
night watch of the neighborhood, 
and pet to the children. 

A brave life this Doberman leads,
 trustworthy its essence;
Who would dare trespass his niche,
or ignore his presence?  

Oh, how the years quickly passed,
and age pushed to the edge;
Niko the brave, the alert no longer,
waits gentle on the ledge. ~ 
  
By human standard, 1:7 age ratio, Niko is a centenarian.