Landscape, With Afghan Sky


This is my current view, a landscape of blue skies and gray concrete. It’s been set in my mind’s eye, I have been looking at it for close to five years.

The ground is hard, unyielding. We harden it some more, layering it with truckloads of cut rocks, every inch that we can. It is not enough that we already hide behind walls three stories high, we must discipline the earth as well. Imprisoned by rocks, dust, concrete, and steel, I have only the blue skies to remind me of the world that must be still out there. A world where softness is not weakness, where the earth is moist and teeming with life, and where the horizon, unbound, expands freely as far as it pleases.

Green Means Go

palm leaves crop

Green means go, right? Just yesterday, I finished fiddling with the photos that I uploaded to my Flickr account, and I noticed that I have a lot of greens in the batch. Leaves, palm trees, shrubbery, lawns, rolling hills, whatnot—the color predominates—shades that are saturated, filling the frame with lushness all around.

The longer I stay in the city, the more I long for green, the hue of nature. Last weekend I was down on my hands and knees tending to my little garden at home. I pruned three pots of shrubs, re-potted some purple bromeliad-like plants, weeded out my foxtails, trimmed chinese bamboo, and applied fertilizer (organic, of course) like it was going out of style. Ironically, it seems cleansing to me to muck about in the dirt, to pull out weeds and dead leaves, breathe in the smell of fresh-turned earth.

It’s been raining for what feels like weeks now, and the patches of green have become more vibrant, as though photoshopped by a manic tree hugger. After a rain, I like to go out and look at the underside of leaves on the trees, their veins seem to pulse and throb with life. Even the air smells different, as though it was swirling scents around, a secret concoction you take in, trusting that it has miraculous properties.

Just when everyone was looking elsewhere, summer was snatched away by moonsoon rains. In the taxi ride going home, my gaze speeds through streams of black water puked up from the sewers, vomit from the very bowels of the city. Here, rain falls down as a gray, dank sheet—clouds flushing the great toilet in the sky. The air is visible, riddled with smoke and particulates like the air inside a cheap, rundown girlie bar.

I wish green will take over the city one day, creep up from the edges of the highways, underneath buildings and bridges, up from cracks in the cement lots and asphalt roads. Imagine it, shrubs mushrooming everywhere, vines looping through wires, grass spilling into malls. A hothouse of flora blooming overhead, soft grass underfoot, colors cutting through the grayness.  Green going on, and on, and on.