DAVAO

Estremera: LFOT*: A perfect blueprint

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EARLY into this quarantine era, I was pondering over an overripe tomato... Let's just say, I've been so used to using my eyes to buy stuff: Go around the market and pick out two to three tomatoes, three pieces onions, five pieces pechay, and just let the vendor measure them and compute how much I need to pay. In the grocery, I just pick through the wrapped vegetables and condiments and get the package that has approximately what I need. Like a pack of four pieces of garlic.

And then quarantine came and we had to navigate through online buying, the pricelists of which were in kilos. Like, whuduh??? Of course, that meant a series of trials and errors along the line of: Never ever buy a kilo of tomatoes if you live alone and only have a single door ref! Followed by: Not even half a kilo. Followed by: Two/Four/Six pieces are enough to last you one whole week, more than that it will start to wilt.

But that's what I had to live with at the start. A kilo of tomatoes, a kilo of pechay, a kilo of other stuff that I can't even fit into the vegetable crisper of my small ref. So there I was, pondering over an overripe tomato, having decided to turn it into seeds for planting.

One tomato, four sections, with more than 10 seeds each section. Imagine how many tomato plants one tomato can produce. If you plant one ampalaya plant from one ampalaya seed, it will yield you many ampalaya fruits. Save one fruit to mature and yield seeds for every ampalaya plant you grow, and you have bottomless supply. Now imagine the corn... Indeed, we have long been provided for, but we chose to live the life of what we have made the world become.

I was thus struck by this passage in a book I'm reading that goes: "Many people no longer honor the spirit of the nature beings we eat; they are perceived simply as 'food products' that we buy in stores. It is time to reflect on the sacredness of corn and all the plants that sustain us."

I've had similar introspections as the seeds I have planted have grown into seedlings. One pod of malunggay yielded nine malunggay seedlings, but I already have one malunggay plant growing taller than me. Now I don't know where I will plant the nine since all I have is a tiny townhouse with a tiny front yard in downtown Davao City... My chili pepper seeds have also grown to almost six inches tall now, there are six of them, and then there are three blue ternate seedlings when I already have one full-grown flowering plant. I will have to give them away, but in giving them away I realize that imagine what one single fruit and seed pod can give. We just forgot, and Covid is teaching us to bring back that awareness and realize that in every single seed is a perfect blueprint of the plant it can grow to be where each seed can be shared by many. That is how God has provided for us. We just forgot.

*LFOT is Lessons from Ordinary Things, a series of articles on my reflections during the various levels of community quarantine because of Covid-19.

(saestremera@gmail.com)


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