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cecile s. yumul
cecile s yumul AND I thought the dreams will never come again. Early in November when I saw posters of The Hobbit, it was coming back from more than twenty years ago when I first encountered Tolkien and his books. It was a way to travel and get lost in the world one could only hope to see in films. The closest approximation to this mythical world anywhere, in parts undisturbed by many man-made structures, is Gintung Pakpak. Amid the sound of nature’s music which comes from a collaboration of water sloshing against living stones sculptured by time, the early morning mist reveals a form strangely bearing resemblance to a fairy in recline for a bath in the stream. Amid the chorus of birds and insects, the gentle writhing and creaking of bamboos, it is the Tuko coming in cue to say it’s only line in perfect timing---“ T u k o.”

The vines twined around the feet, waist, on both wrists, lifting me on a gentle swaying motion, forth and back, like on the Duyan from childhood days, until I dozed off into dreamland. For how long I could not say, until I was awakened by a sudden jerking motion that pulled much higher than heights that even an experienced climber could not reach.

In the distance, clouds have changed into an ominous charcoal gray, starkly contrasting with sudden bolts of lightning patterns. Neither of the two scenes playing out was particularly exciting. In unison with the thunderclaps, the vines twined around me jerked, pulled, and shook.

The North and South peaks of Mt. Arayat for the first time moved like there were two invisible giant hands gripping each peak to set them apart. There was steam, there was rumbling sound, and the verdant forest cover of the mountain shook with the ground. Roots that serve as anchors shrieked, while the soil little by little was tearing apart, exposing the roots. The crevice, which had always looked the parted bosom of a woman in recline, heaved up and down, then slowly in trickles, like caramel sundae with crumbled cookie toppings, started oozing that grew in volume as the shaking intensified.

Entwined among the vines with every jerking motion the tree branches pulled me higher, but close enough to see the havoc toppling man-made structures mixed with volcanic rocks, deadwood, among other debris. From the light to gray mist and to dark, I didn’t know how long the torrent lasted, but it ended and everything that was left was ghastly still. As if all the vines’ strength was sapped, the grip loosened and slowly I rolled down on the wasted heap of rocks, leaves, and uprooted trunks. Hesitantly peering from out of the nooks and crevices other creatures came out of hiding, and the soothing sounds of nature’s symphony came about as a salve to fallen friends of the mountain. Like one hypnotized, as the sound calmed the rattled nerves from the recently witnessed raging of the mystic mountain, I drifted off to slumber.

It started with a drop on my face, then more drops on my body. As the hammock swayed in not so gentle motion, I startled opening my eyes, gripping the side ropes. I saw the dark ominous clouds descending on the mystic mountain.

[About the author. A renaissance social worker, a revolutionary teacher, a supporter of artists, a trail-blazing woman of substance, Cecile S. Yumul is an embodiment of the phrase "Carpe diem!" This multi-awarded teacher/broadcast journalist started her broadcasting career over 27 years ago. Her radio/tv show "Bukas Bayan" has been on air since 1999 and is still airing with a multi-sectoral fan base. She is an accomplished cook, a mystic gardener, an actress, and a true environmentalist—a distinction she is indeed proud of.]

-Posted: 8:30 AM 12/6/13 | More of this author on eK!