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Seeding Time


John MelegritoBy John Melegrito

Everyone who’s touched and tasted my garden’s succulent produce (bitter melons, mainly) has been asking me lately if I’ve planted them already. All winter long, I had been eagerly waiting for the dry, hardened soil to soften so my restless hands and fingers can dig deep into its dark, inner recesses and feel the good, warm earth tremble at my touch, ready to surrender its moistness to the silent rage of seeds waiting to germinate. Soon, I assured my friends with the confidence of a constant gardener.  Soon and very soon.

One Saturday two weeks ago turned out to be the right seeding time. Temperatures were near the 70s. Bright sun, blue sky.  The day coincided with Cinco de Mayo,<D> the Obama re-election kick-off, the Newt withdrawal from the presidential race (followed by Santorum days later), the  US-China diplomatic embroglio and, of course, the much-awaited super moon, when the large golden orb took its closest pass by earth and beamed all night from dusk till dawn. The Newt’s exit means there’s not going to be a moon colony up there anytime soon.

There was much flair and fanfare in all these eventful happenings: renewed energy among the President’s supporters, relief among Mitt Romney’s followers.

But for the first seeds of a new season, this sacred mundane act of putting seed to soil generally happens in silence. Yet, there’s a hidden force in every grain to make it grow, each seed containing all the nutrients and energy needed to germinate.

Seeding time happened after a morning road trip to Damascus (Maryland) and before the night of the super moon.

 For those who haven’t ventured into Montgomery County, Damascus is a small, rural place between Gaithersburg and Germantown. Of the more than 11,000 residents, about 40 Filipinos live there, notably Marvin and Alice Santos.  Husband and wife are both architects and artists. Over the years, they have befriended other creative spirits in the area, collaborating on artistic endeavors under the auspices of the Damascus Community Recreational Center. One such collaboration was a collective exhibition of different art genres by artists of diverse ethnic background and culture. That Saturday was the opening reception of the exhibit. It’s aptly dubbed “Prismatopia,” a term which combines “colors formed by refraction of light through a prism” and “an imaginary and indefinite remote place,” which aims “to link the world of art akin to a rainbow’s mystical place of infinite start and end.”

But what struck me about the event was the serendipity: Russian-American children showing off their watercolors and scrawling messages with magic markers on a large paper scroll that was meant to be lifted up by a dozen rainbow-colored balloons; mothers cradling crying babies; rock and roll renditions by the Frazier Boys, Julian Oteyza’s Dyslexic Art and the classic sounds of theTutubi Band; Amy channeling Adele and the fire in her heart “reaching a fever pitch and it’s bringing me out the dark.”  And no less than Marvin Santos himself surprising everyone, including his wife, with an impromptu dance performance to the music of “Gabag-an,” a tribal rite of sacrifice and surrender. Others joined in  Maurese Owens, Linda Ortanez  and for a moment it was as if the gods and spirits took interest, appearing in flesh to partake of the human proceedings.

I left Damascus feeling like I just came from a remote, imaginary place, animated by the spirits that prompted an impromptu dance. Afternoon came, then evening. The same spirit that animated aging children and the seeds in the garden animated the moon to beam from dusk to dawn.

Seeding time is to make a new beginning. Meanwhile, we wait and keep the faith. Wait to reap the harvest from the choices we make.

Send your comments to jonmele@aol.com.


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