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I Can’t Seem To Wake Up

Layers of dreams, you are in one and you thought you have awakened. Only to find out you just moved on to another chapter of the dream. It is so surreal. It is so beautiful. 

I told everyone about the dream I had about meeting and  spending time with this wonderful lady, and waking up to a most surprising sight,  a present by my bedside.

Her name is Betsy.

It was one of those days you feel like you are treading the clouds of seventh heaven, from the time you open your eyes and seeing the first light of day showering it’s faint rays on the flowers on the bedside table until the time you need to shut them at the end of the day and it’s the same flowers you get a glimpse of before you drift to la-la-land.

Did I ever wake up at all?
Am I still dreaming?
Is it the same dream?

Maybe I never left it in the first place. If  I am still in it, I don’t want to leave yet.

“Please call me Betsy,” she said. I smiled with the thought maybe, just maybe, I have become more than an acquaintance. I am not putting my hopes up, she is, after all, a very diplomatic lady.

“You wanted to ask me something?”, she remembers, when I requested for a moment of her time for idle chitchat. I blanked out. The unusual questions I was planning to ask to get to know her outside of her craft seem to have faded from the lobes of my brain. One of my senior moment.

“This is a beautiful place,” she says of Tony Brias’, her nephew, Catigan mountaintop rest house. I hope she spends more time in Davao now.

And then she set up her easel, canvas and paint brushes. She was going to paint more flowers.

Her hands moved and started turning the garden blooms into her work of art.

The paparazzi was milling about her again like the bee hovering around her subject collecting nectar clicking away like a madman. Thank God for digital cameras, films would have proven more costly with the number of shots taken.

The images were sublime.

It captured the artist in motion as she moved in a world she owned, hers and her flowers’ alone. That is as far a what the lens could capture. The images in her mind, her space, must be as rich in colors as the tints and hues she has concocted on her palette. It would be impossible to visualize, let alone, captured in pixels.

As Betsy was cocooned in her universe, not even the pouring rain blowing mist her way and sudden gust of winds sweeping her canvas off the easel, brushes from its receptacle, made her cease from giving an eternal existence to the Catigan flowers on her canvas. The sun must be bright, the sky blue and the breeze blowing softly in her moment.

On her second day in Catigan, more flowers bloomed.

Upon arrival, it was so effortless for Betsy to slip into her space that we, the mortals, cannot enter. She fleeted, or should I say floated, from subjects to easel. Her eyes deep in thought, like a vessel transporting its prized lading, the minute facets of the blossoms, from the garden to her canvas.


Long before the sun set on the horizon, three flowers on her small  boards became art pieces, now ageless- two Heliconias, the Bird of Paradise and the Sexy Pink from the gardens of Catigan and one Poppy Flowers, from her very own eden.

“This looks like the twin of the flowers you have Jinggoy,” Tony said of the Poppy Flower artwork.

It is amazing how the details of the flower along with the plant were captured in clarity even in miniature. The maker is blessed.

This is why Betsy is an artist, a respected one, a recognized one.

Beautiful. My dream in full color.

Last night it rained. The day after, I woke up to another glorious morning. The sun was gently casting its early rays brightening my room. I turned to the flowers Betsy gave me in my first dream and my eyebrows met throwing me into deep thought. The flowers seemed to have multiplied. Am I seeing double? Squint, rub. There seem to be another set of flowers by my bedside.

Another dream?…… I cant’ seem to wake up!….Maybe, not just yet.

Thank you very much Betsy for the lovely flowers. They now keep the other flowers company. Both are now by my bedside. Seeing them at the start and end of the day brings me joy.

See more of Betsy Westendorp’s images in her on-going exhibit at the Game Room of the Pearl Farm Marina in Lanang until, THursday, February 17, from 10AM-12NN and 2PM-6-PM. This exhibition, spearheaded by his nephew, Tony Brias, was mounted with the Davao Chapter of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc.

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