Where do you go for peace and quiet? Is there one spot in the world that you have found where you could run to when you want no one or nothing to invade your time or space? Difficult? Impossible?
We have become too available, too accessible, and there is no safe corner we can retreat to without looking like we have flaked off or failed. It is almost like we must be forever visible and in control so the world will know we are still in the game. Really?
And we wonder why many of us are so stressed and anxious.
Unwilling to admit that we have a problem, we look for temporary soothers, distractions. Placebos. Those who can afford it take a trip. But nothing changes, unless you do.
Many people I know (and I am related to some) take on more than they should. There is nothing wrong with wanting to excel. But some of us pay too high a price.
We may be adept at doing several things at the same time. But you cannot multitask life. You can only live it from moment to moment, one day at a time. We must savor every minute and be thankful for the time given.
When I lived in Hawaii and the children were very young, my safe place was in the shower, where I could do my own thinking or no thinking at all. Can you imagine getting stressed in Paradise? But yes, it happens. I know I should have unwound at the beach. But I couldn’t always do that.
Instead, to ease my soul, I took very long showers. I felt that all the problems and cares would wash away and literally go down the drain. Of course they didn’t, but it felt good to try. No one was allowed to knock. Except perhaps in case of fire. Maybe.
I think the children knew that something was not right. They whispered, “Mommy is taking long showers.” Meaning, we better stay away.
Soaking in a tub with scented bubbles and oils does absolutely nothing for me. No offense to the tub-soakers of the world. It does not pacify my nerves and, after a long and boring soak, I feel I still need a shower. Besides, at this stage in my life, bathtubs can be lethal.
Some people find their “space” surrounded by noise. I know it sounds odd, but I think I can understand it.
In New York where I lived during the darkest time of my life, I went to Grand Central Station, walked and jostled among weirdos and strangers and found unexpected comfort in my anonymity.
Other days I watched skaters in Rockefeller Center and it lifted my spirits to see them glide and spin, skim over the ice so effortlessly. They made every move, even falling down, seem easy. If I wanted quiet, I went to the museum or walked in Central Park.
To the hills
Here at home, I take to the hills. After a holiday weekend when everyone is trekking back to the lowlands, I go in the opposite direction to enjoy what remains of what once was my beautiful Baguio.
The ride was pleasant Monday morning. My daughter had raved about the new highways and how they made it to Baguio in three and a half hours.
My travel time was more like four and a half. We took it nice and easy. Made one pit stop for lunch at McDo in Mexico, Pampanga.
The new expressways are impressive. You don’t take country roads anymore. You just breeze through from NLEX on to SCTEX and then TPLEX, through Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac. When you get off you are in Pangasinan.
Amazing. No more tailgating a tricycle or following bumper to bumper behind a funeral cortege. No waiting for carabaos to cross the street.
Many of you will think I’m crazy. But guess what? I missed the old way. I hate traffic but I enjoy the gawking pedestrians. I gawk right back at them, wondering who they are, where they live, what they do. Where were all the kids selling peanuts and tupig? The only carabaos I saw were wallowing in a shallow river far from the road under an old bridge.
I saw huge expanses of newly harvested farmland zip quickly by. I missed smelling the fresh grain. My only thought was, who owns the hacienda? I’ve been watching too much TV.
Kennon was a breeze. Bridal Veil Falls was spectacular, sparkling in the sun. I have never liked the man-made Lion’s Head and now someone went crazy with blue and orange paint across from it. Ugh!
Arriving in Baguio is not the best, unless you like endless clotheslines and dirty tarpaulins on both sides of the road.
I love my “little city that has seen better days.” And it breaks my heart to see her looking so rundown. She needs more than just a facelift. Baguio needs a thorough overhaul. Does anyone care?
I must confess that in whatever state of disarray, Baguio still pulls at parts of my heart I didn’t even know were still there.
I have a few things to do here. Buy gugo and ube jalea at Good Shepherd, walis tambo and guava jam at Hill Station. But I am not here to shop.
I have come to speak and commune with my muses.
And I can do that in the cozy comfort of Baguio Country Club. It is always beautiful here. The grounds are impeccable. Service outstanding. No one gives you a warmer welcome.
I am happy here. But for some reason I miss the old Smokehouse and the Woodshed. Don’t ask. Just saying.