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Honoring my Mother | Of murals and child scrawlings

I happened to chance upon a neat row of new streetwall artworks painted by local artists the other day. Surely, with the city slowly gearing up for Kadayawan (Davao’s much-anticipated festival celebrating bountiful harvest), I had thought, Maree and Jun must be at it again. These two artist-friends who regularly organized projects, concerts and exhibits for local artists, have always been at the forefront of art rev in the city.

Then last night at home, while poring through books (and piles of old and useless readings, i.e. trash) in our tiny house’ library, I saw my son’s crude child drawings on the wall. Long ago, as a tiny rugrat, he had used the section of the house as canvas, as he painstakingly scrawled bunched-up stick figures while narrating little made-up tales for us. Much later, in the midst of renovation, we had asked his permission if we could repaint over that specific part, and he had said no. So, his wall art still survives till today.

New and old, old and new. In our city and our home, they are constantly meshed like knots to memory.

So much like the old Ponciano street of my childhood. If you now happen to pass by, that row of Acacias at Kapitan Tomas Elementary School still stands, by the way.

We had climbed and explored those giants when we were children, without parental knowledge and consent of course, and at every Christmas time, on our way to San Pedro Church, I always felt that the breeze in that vicinity was special-delivery much colder.

There also was a time in the 80s when them trees had received so much local attention and fame because a bunch of kids had reported seeing tiny people playing among their branches. This had caused traffic for about a week because a crowd of curious people had clogged the sidewalk and then extended out into the street. I too remember pranksters pointing out at some branches, pretending to see dwendes and it always brought out what seemed like a frenzy among everyone. We all had fun during that time.

No matter, the defiant Acacias are still standing and healthy. They are walled now and fronted by modern buildings and offices, and maybe because of these, the dwarves might have already moved elsewhere.

One thing I know though, in my multiverse, the once-dwarf kid in our house had graduated college and left his crude troll drawings behind. His hold order not to repaint over them still stands however.

I remember something, someone once told me long ago. Things may change, but they remain the same.

I would really love it no end, if those Kadayawan streetwall paintings stayed like that forever. Like the scrawlings on our house wall, I would especially love to witness coming generations of children to review them like doors to pleasant memories when they’re 64.

So very much like those grand Acacia trees of old Ponciano Reyes Street, with leaves swaying playfully in the afternoon breeze and tiny people drinking their tea. Wink wink.


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