There is a beautiful ray of light coming through the lush green canopy overhead. Raindrops from a recent storm cling precariously at the edges of slender tendrils of loofah shoots, and at the ends of their dangling root fronds. The air smelled sharp, and fresh, and new. But there is the unmistakable smell of decay in this lush green paradise. I part the root fronds like a frail curtain, and step through into my tropical domain.
I survey the garden before me. A pruned Malaysian cherry tree, putting forth new leaves stands proudly to my left, behind several pots and polystyrene boxes.
One of the boxes contain a flush of new purple leaves, courtesy of sweet potato cuttings I had staked within scarcely a fortnight ago. The other boxes were bereft of any useful plant, save a few sad-looking Portulaca stems and a single water convolvulus (kangkung) plant, a brave survivor of a spate of weeding done a few weeks ago.
Two dandelion bulbs in a pot, trying to put forth new shoots. A few lillies who have yet to follow in the dandelions' footsteps. Several spent and tired-looking terung pipit plants look bare.
Small, wavy plucks of carrot and parsnip leaves at the border, always in danger of being trod upon by hapless visitors.
At the far right ahead, the gnarled woody bark of the loofah plant tries to sneak its way up the cat enclosure, while trailing its roots in search of water, in its not-so-secret quest for dominion of the garden.
The loofah's loftiest parts threaten to enclose my first floor bedroom windows. Sometime in the near future, I will look forward to waking up in the morning, opening my windows for fresh air and plucking a loofah right out of my window. But for the time being, I look upwards at the black netting just above my head, trying to ascertain whether there are any new loofahs ripe for the plucking. I spy a few, and decide to save them for my parents who will be visiting me this weekend.
|In the end, we are all dust.|
Mission accomplished, I turn my attention towards the polystyrene box filled with sweet potato leaves. A previous harvest turned out to be bountiful by the Grace of Allah, so I am determined to grow more of these polydactyl-like plants.
I spy some tiny sweet potato plants growing out of the ground, not far from their progenitor's box.
I carefully dug them out, with their tiny, sweet potato tuberous roots at their ends. I look around for a better place to home them, and decide on one of the sorry-looking polystyrene boxes. I manage to dig out 5 miniscule plants in all.
I look again around the polystyrene boxes, and spy several new shoots in the ground near me. I identify these to be young loofah plants. These must have been from the seeds and loofahs I was drying at the wooden pangkin nearby. I touch them gently, and let them be. Perhaps someone would want these precious little plants. I make a mental note to ask my relatives during the upcoming wedding.
I poke about at my sowing tray, and note to my dismay that things are pretty much the same as last week. No sign of any flower seedlings, not cayenne pepper, nor alpine strawberries. The Rouge de Marmande Tomato shoots seem to be doing well so far, and so are the Soarer Cucumbers. I walk over to a shallow pot where I had tossed a dried-up and shrivelled Sweet Red Cherry Tomato I found lurking in a corner of my refridgerator. To my delight, I spy several young tomato seedlings. I crow with happiness to find some bright red Rainbow Chard seedlings in a plastic Baba pot nearby that survived the heavy downpours.
I smile to myself, snap a few pictures, and while humming a tune under my breath, I step back indoors.