I had a most refreshing weekend in Patag when close AYLC friend Vain Shorts was “home.” He’s not from here but he has gained “amigos de Negros” through the years so he’s not averse to the idea of considering Negros as his second home. I could have missed it because of PLW Formation School but the boys, Politico del Republica Cantonal, Muzik Laban Boy and Good Boy Lindy, were gentlemanly enough to wait for me and leave at 7 PM. They had to, because Vain Shorts and I had two years worth of psychoanalysis on the line!
Stars hang low
Up in the mountains, we camped out – okay, the most extreme we could do that night was spread banig and blankets at the rest house’s terrace. It was a clear night and the stars hung low and numerous. I began to whisper a quick thank you because it felt like my dreams were within reach. Vain Shorts said he had not seen stars nor heard birds for a long time, and that he had an app that played the sound of chirping birds, rustling bamboo, sea waves, croaking frogs. Goodness.
My Digital Manila mornings
Then I remembered my Manila mornings, only that there were no mornings in the Manila hustle, and roosters were digital. I had gotten used to it for a time until I spent Holy Week at my uncle’s rest house in Tagaytay when I woke up to the real sound of birds, not the pseudo birds that squeak in meditation music. Real birds! I then realized that before that encounter I had been dead. If it weren’t for friends – friends I now pray I would never lose touch with despite the distance—I would’ve gone crazy, or I would’ve become terribly inauthentic (I didn’t love you or understand you that well then, Papa God.).
The mountain breeze lent a lilt to our conversations, the wine made these conversations soar endlessly, and the guitar inebriated our souls. I felt so whole and compact and thankful that there was nothing I ever needed. I realized by morning, by the light of God’s morning on my face, that I had slept soundly at the terrace under the Universe’s watch.
Morning saw us again never running out of things to laugh about. We were like pails filled to the brim that even the corniest jokes would tickle and make us spill over. Simple joys. But does this mean that we have shallow joys? I don’t mind. I don’t have to be cerebral about joy.
Sacred Half Hour
From time to time I would slip out for solitary moments. At 6 AM, while everyone was still asleep, I had my Sacred Half Hour in the midst of pine trees. It was a point of adoration, and I was on a high with Psalm 104. Thank you, Father! When I got back it was over an hour later, but it felt like it was just 30 minutes! Only by grace! The idyllic scenery was perfect and the book I had was “Brother Francis” so I had to excuse myself from the group many times to make the most of this communion.
Monday came, and I found myself doing the same in my own backyard. With birds chirping, leaves rustling, the wind on my face. No digital simulation.