Thursday, April 4, 2013


I called the shots, the revelers gathered. It was one of those binges where the party extends late until mid-morning. I went home after the sleep over. Don't speculate what happened. I will never tell. All I confess is finding epiphany at the risk of losing a friend. Maybe it was meant to be, subconsciously. I engineered to make it happen. Probably to answer some unspoken questions and affirm, at long last, our place in the sun.

But who am I to pre-empt tomorrow? 

As the story goes, my companion dropped me off near Medical City, where I'd cross the street and ride a G-Liner going home. It was a sunny weekend, and most of the people I came across had either visited a friend at the hospital, or were rushing to find a shade. It was safe to say I've encountered a few souls along the way, but my eyes were not fixed on strangers. I was scaling the depths of my blotched virtues. 

It took some time for the bus to arrive and gazing upon the hospital's plant box, and its vast swathes of yerba buena - sprawling beyond the confines of the earth - I was tempted to pull some stems to take home. After the winged critters learned the gastronomic delights of my Basils and Lemon Balm, I've stopped returning to the Manila Seedling Bank to buy new herbs. 

I have waged a protracted battle against the birds and I'm stuck along the trenches.

I poked a finger-sized hole on one of the flower pots the moment I arrived home, and unceremoniously planted the herb without ever thinking if it would thrive on barren soil. The wandering jews, whose fleshy stems had been cut for the pruning had already grown roots. They can easily take away the nutrients the yerba buena needs for growth.

As expected, the herb's leaves wilted and fell off.

The yerba buena was forgotten and life went on with its twists and turns. At the window, where the foliage becomes a fodder for wildlife, the herbs are forced to go through a wicked cycle of wilting before getting watered again. The fragrant mints died out for reasons beyond my knowledge, and below their charred remains, new sprouts have turned the lifeless plastic container into a verdant nursery.

It is when my nephew decides to cool down in his inflatable tub that I bother to take a second look at the ground where I planted the yerba buena weeks ago. Along with the wandering jews, and some bandit weeds that came from nowhere, are the unmistakable evergreen leaves of the herb I picked outside the hospital.

Ribbed and tongue-shaped, the yerba buena struggles to hold ground. Its stubbornness reminds you that in life sown with weeds, the choice is to die out or grow - by spreading and overrunning the very weeds of soil, whose nutrients belong to you, and whose presence belittle the lofty idea behind your purpose.



Pepe said...

I enjoy this read Mugen. True, weeds are abundant and regular mowing the ground can sometimes become tiring. At some point we will go tired watching the vast ground. And when such time comes, it is our time to tend our own little pots. When we see tendershoots thriving on our pot, it is enough to reinforce hope that though weeds will perennially devour the earth, so long as we keep fresh green shoots growing in our little pots, we live on.

(Relate na relate lang ako kasi meron din akong y/herba buena sa bahay. Malulusog sila. :))

JM said...


Inggit naman. :) I'm not really sure if the Yerba Buena lives or not.

But let's see. :) Plants are rather finicky creations.