Sunday, April 30, 2017

Nature Verses Series 10 - Children see the world through a kaleidoscope

In art, if you go abstract you lose reality.
How can I paint spirituality and beauty?

Dr Abe V Rotor

Children see the world through a kaleidoscope,
In a thousand thoughts that blend
What they dream and what they hope.

Hush, hush.
Suddenly the world became still.
Gone is the lark in the sky and raven on the sill
While the rivers and rivulets run dry,
Orphaned from the river high;
Wouldn’t Heaven rather send a sigh,
Than somewhere the young ones cry?
I say retreat in recreation 

Spelled re-creation.

I know now why there
is a magic carpet that flies,
For I am witness to a boat
filled with children
In make-believe flotilla
filling the seas,
Calling each other, brother,
in joyful peace,

The bamboo I cut is not really mine,
This giant grass, a reed sublime;
In the wind it rings a sweet old chime,
Into a song sans words and rhyme.

Haven’t I dug the anthill where it once stood?
If termites live on dead wood
Where do they get their food?
Ah, from roots - dead roots of the tree I pruned.

You are alone at your lowest ebb.
At low tide the sea reveals her shore
That bathes under the sun to its edge.
Go to the sea and learn its chore.

Keen are our senses at the bend
Keener they are at the end.

Acknowledgement: Internet photos

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Power of STILLNESS

The Power of STILLNESS
Dr Abe V Rotor
Angelus by Jean Francois Millet

1. Stillness and Meditation
Silence, oh elusive silence,.
take me to your realm divine
where good and evil part,
that I may  find a new start, 
that begins in the heart. 

2. Stillness and the Loving Heart
Throb oh heart, throb the magic of love,
lest desire may turn into lust,
blinding the senses in Freudian ido;
Browning, Ben Jonson, come
with your art of love on hand.   

3. Stillness and the Arts
Soar into the heavens for peace and quiet,
let imagination rule over reason,
creativity reigns supreme in stillness,
spawning the great masterpieces.

4. Stillness and Scholarship 
Fishing not for fish but ideas,
the rod bends, the line quivers -
a big fish bites, pulls, rages,
oh stillness, tool of the sages.

5. Stillness and the Longing Heart
When the heart throbs for someone far away,
of a place you can't go for the moment or nevermore,
of things lost and can no longer be found,
or wishing the good old days were here,
stillness, stillness must reign, 
in fullness and profound. 

6. Stillness and the Weary Heart  
When doubt clouds the mind and shrouds the view,
which road to take of the two,
take the less trodden, more so the fresh path;
stillness – but never the heart to a halt.

7. Stillness and the Grieving Heart  
In the dark hours of life the night is long,
the dawn comes late or seems it never comes,
grief and pain they are inseparable:
the mind, body and spirit;
stillness brings back the joy and wit.

8. Stillness and the Raging Heart
When rages the heart cascading wild,
chartless in a sea of tempest,
seeing the shore no more,
stillness shall give you rest. 

9. Stillness and Nature
Calm is the sea but a sleeping volcano,
the sky is blue, the river meandering to the sea,
a child of creation I'm from the stillness of the womb, 
to the stillness of hereafter. 

10. Stillness and Angelus
The sun sets with the Angelus,
as creatures go to their lair,
stillness reigns in the night
until the return of light. ~

A Piece of Eden Regained

A Piece of Eden Regained 
Acrylic on canvas (33" x 103") by AVRotor April 27, 2017. 
Courtesy of LAWIN (Lagro Association of Writers and Artists Inc.), QC

It's a lake full to the shore, its water deep and clear, 
trees speak of history age, yet  hale and strong; 
under their spreading crowns and roots the fish stir
to the presence of children and their song. 

a lake a living theater and sprawling play ground, 
with ospreys hunting, pigeons and doves flying,
silence reigns, save the wildlife's call and sound,  
amid the breeze in the trees whispering,  

Promenading by the lake, fishing, and  kite flying,
pastime from school and the shopping mall,
where Nature teaches the true meaning of living,  
 to humans among creatures big and small.

That was a long time ago, a lifetime since then,
the earth has aged too soon, senile in many parts;
let's refresh memories else the scenario be forgotten,
reliving Nature's beauty, greatest of the arts.  

Speak of love beneath a tree
and pray, how do I love thee?
two hearts and a Cupid's bow
on the tree the vow be true! 
Oh, sweet nothings of love 
maketh the heart throb, throb.  
Diogenes was looking for an honest man,
not the fisher who caught the biggest fish, 
but in the recesses of his mind got away;
oh, philosophy, a subject many a remiss;
time and freedom are the biggest catch,
no big fish can truly match.    ~

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Scenarios of Current Trends in Agriculture:

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Never in the history of agriculture, or the history of man for that matter, had we experienced five simultaneous and overlapping farming movements that constitute the Green Revolution in our Postmodern era: 
  1. Stem Cell Farming (SCF), the latest.
  2. Farming of GMO plants and animals 
  3. Single Cell Protein (SCP) farming 
  4. Hydroponics and aeroponics 
  5. Natural and Indigenous Farming

Here are ten scenarios on the current trend of agriculture

1. Stem cell farming will ignite rage and ethico-moral controversy. What with the wild thought of human stem cell hamburger! 

2. GMO farming has stirred worldwide controversy since its early stage. Worldwide, countries and organizations are calling for its restriction, if not total ban. 

3. Genetic engineering has given rise to a new and most destructive form of pollution to the living world - Genetic Pollution, which is destroying the integrity of natural gene pools of plants, animals, and microorganisms. 

4. Genetic pollution spreads through pollination in plants and mating in animals, albeit induced mutation. GM plants can pollute whole fields. The mechanism is true to animals, consequently populations. There is no way of stop genetic pollution once it has set in, unlike conventional pollution. 

5. Farming the sea will continue with harmful ecological consequences. Like deforestation on land, marine vegetation, from mangrove to seaweeds and sea grasses will greatly suffer, even as the cultivation of seaweeds like Eucheuma and Calerpa, is now a lucrative industry. 
6. Fish farming of marine and freshwater species has expanded into off shore floating cages and plantation-size fish pens. Wild species in captivity proved to be successful in groupers, mullets, and lately, the salmon which has virtually lost its homing instinct through genetic manipulation.  

7. Hydroponics (soiless farming) and aeroponics (farming on multi-storey buildings) continue to "bring agriculture into the city," as more and more people move into urban centers. 

 Aeroponics, farming in the city 

8. Home gardening and backyard orchards are back with the objectives of recycling, self-sufficiency and sanitation, not to mention aesthetic beauty. This trend goes hand in hand with the revival of traditional societies, as people are tired living in the city.   

9. People are becoming conscious of their health by avoiding chemically grown plants and animals, aware of the harmful effects of chemical residues, "Frankenfood"  (GMOs), toxic metals and antibiotic residues, among others.    

10. Wild food plants like Amaranthus, Portulaca, Corchorus and Mollogo have found their way to the dining table and market.  So with many native varieties of fruits and vegetables on one hand, and native breeds of animals and poultry, on the other. 

Have you tasted The "Acid" Fruit?

Karmai or Iba -Cicca  Latin acida (Linn.) Merr. Family • Euphorbiaceae
Dr Abe V Rotor
A bountiful harvest of Karmai (Karamay Ilk), Sn Vicente, Ilocos Sur  

You don't have to climb the tree, just shake a branch - or the small tree -  and pronto, you have a shirt- or skirtful of this  fruit curiously known by its scientific name -  Cicca acida, which means in Latin, acidic seed membrane. It got a stone hard core surrounded with thick cartilaginous flesh that is very sour. In botany they call this kind of fruit, drupe. And would you think you can have your fill even with the ripest pick? 

Kids we were in our time, would simply relish the fruit, fresh or pickled. Our folks would join cautioning us not to eat too much especially with empty stomach. But in the process, they compete for the choice sizes leaving the small and immature ones. You see, when you harvest, ripe and young fruits fall at the same time to a waiting inverted umbrella, or a stretched blanket, unless you handpick only the ripe ones - which is tedious. When pickled with sukang Iloko (native Ilocos vinegar) and salt, all sizes, mature and immature, become grossly inviting.  

What do you get from karmai?  It may be poor in food value but it contains appreciable amounts of minerals and vitamins the body may need.  Per 100 g of edible portion examined, 92 percent is water.  It is low in protein (0.155 g), fat (0,52 g), fiber (0.8 g).  It got some calcium (5.4 mg), phosphorus (17.9 mg). iron (3.25 mg), ascorbic acid (4.6 mg), and traces of carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin. 

Other than pickled, karmai is made into sweets, either sweetened and dried, or as jelly or jam sans the seeds. Preparation is not easy though because of the high acid content which is first neutralized with salted water for a day or two, before it is drained and dried, then candied or jellied. 

But have you tasted sinigang with karmai instead of kamias (Averrhoa  or sampalok?  Try it with the unripe fruits and savor the pleasant sourness and mild acrid taste. Then after meal have a dessert of pickled karmai to remove the aftertaste of fish or meat. And for a change, try the young leaves cooked as green, like malunggay and kangkong.  

Karmai may not be popular in times of plenty, when imported fruits - apples, oranges, grapes - dominate the fruit stand, when in our life of haste we would rather pick from the shelf packed fruit juices, when schools and communities seldom promote the "lesser" fruits native to our country.   

The revival of ethnobotany - the study of plants and man on a historical and evolutionary perspective - has started in schools and research institutions. It can be a significant approach in providing indigenous food, medicine, and curbing environmental degradation, including global warming in a broad sense. 

Remembering the author of Alternative Medicine,responsible in its passing into law, Senator Juan Flavier, I did a little research on the medicinal properties of karmai.  Here is a short list among many potentials which pose a challenge to the scientific mind. These may be folkloric and therefore tested in certain societies.           

- Decoction of leaves is used externally for urticaria, the fruit given at the same time to eat.
- Decoction of the bark used for bronchial catarrh.
- Some believe the roots to be poisonous, but the Malays boil it for steam inhalation in use for coughs.
- In Java, root infusion used for asthma.
- In Borneo, used with pepper
- Poultice of leaves for lumbago and sciatica.
- Root used for psoriasis.
- Used in chronic liver diseases.
- Decoction of leaves is diaphoretic.
- Leaves used for gonorrhea.
- In Burma, fruits are eaten to promote appetite; sap swallowed to induce vomiting and relieve constipation.
- In Indonesia, leaves are used as counter irritant in sciatica and lumbago. 
- In Malaysia, vapors from boiling of roots inhaled for coughs and headache.
- In Bangladesh used for skin diseases - eczema, abscesses, acne, etc.
- In India, fruits are taken as liver tonic. Leaves, with pepper, are poulticed for sciatica, lumbago or rheumatism. Leaves taken as demulcent for gonorrhea.
- In Maharashtra, India, decoction of seeds used twice daily for asthma and bronchitis.
- In Malaya, root infusion, in small doses, taken for asthma. The root is used for foot psoriasis.
 NOTE: For more details about the medical uses of karmai, medical advice is recommended.   

Next time you see a karmai tree, take time to study and appreciate it.  It is not really a handsome tree. In the first place it is small and may not provide a good shade. But truly karmai deserves a place in the orchard and in the wildlife.   

Reference and acknowledgement: Internet, Living with Nature AVR