By EUZETTE FERMILAN
When I was little, in a child’s point of view, l thought about living in the countryside like being in a cocoon. Most especially during pre-social media era. Slow. Still. Routinary. Out of reach, almost.
It was customary for my parents to send me and my brothers to my grandparents’ place when school was over. Summers at my grannies’ mean an actual island life. You had a small world of your own. The happenings or events were just somewhere else. The neighbours were several metres away from your house especially for your tiny feet. You basked in nature and solitude where a two-month long vacation felt like a year. Boring daily routines. Nothing peculiar.
Every time when it was near dusk, Lolo’s native chickens swarmed the backyard for a feed, mainly grated coconut that I and my brothers painstakingly prepared through kagdanan sa lubi (grater). By nightfall, lamparas and petromax were lit. Sometimes in the evening, Lolo’s friends would come over for Tubâ session (drinking coconut wine) and filled the night with their merry laughter and lively songs accompanied by a ukelele.
Early mornings called for a warm breakfast and hot beverage lovingly served by Lola. Then after, the designated chores. At noon, by the seashore or in the shade of the coconut trees, I often sat by myself while my brothers were either busy fishing or swimming. Considering the shack’s proximity to the beach, we frequented there many times during the day that Lola had to bring our lunch there some times. It was like an instant picnic minus the fancy blanket, basket and cutlery. Rather she packed them in food containers and plastic bag.
Back then, watching the vast ocean always brought me a sense of epiphany, one after another. The blazing noon sun made the sea sparkle, as though diamonds of sunlight were dancing on the water. Whilst the endless horizon was completely enthralling and thought-provoking, waves of thoughts tossed in my vision. Sheer moments when you could not help but reflect.
As early as that I already realized how small fish I was in that aquarium of life; that a cocooned life was comfy and safe, but that’s not what life is for, I supposed. So I dared to dream. I was quite certain there was more to it; that there was more to life than just living in that seemingly small world or just being stuck in such reality. I wanted to go beyond. To be out in the open. To fly literally and figuratively. But I was just a child so I could only dream.
Then life happens. You grew up and outlived those tender summers. Hardly you could get a long due vacation at all. Those budget-friendly summer holidays are now de luxe. You could only look back to those days and realised you have come this far. Now I am in the other side of the world, different time zone and different season. But hey, I wish I could go back in time, even if that means being a ‘cocoon’ in the same cocoon.
Euzette Fermilan is an English Teacher who pines to travel the world. She likes reading and has a penchant for writing. Currently, she’s happily married and has a gorgeous baby boy. Despite living in a few cities in the Philippines and now in Europe, she is, and will always be, a small town girl at heart.