Lullaby

Lullaby

" A voice in the night sends me to sleep "
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I was born and raised Catholic, and I don't really have major issues with being one - except the major issues of the religion itself. Anyway, since I studied in Catholic schools all my life, I've been attending retreats since sixth grade. While the rest have been run-of-the-mill, "Kumbaya, My Lord" type of retreats, there was one retreat that was, despite a little spooky, was nonetheless meaningful.

I was in my senior year of college, and I volunteered to take part in a three-day silent retreat in Tagaytay, a city around two or so hours away from Manila. It's most known for its pleasant weather, even during summer, and its stunning view of Taal Lake and Volcano. 

There are several retreat centers founded by various Catholic orders in Tagaytay. I forgot which I one I had my silent retreat in, but I remember going there with some of my batch mates to seek some silence and some me-time after four years of "studying." It was surrounded by trees and had a nice view of rolling hills with pineapple farms—another highlight Tagaytay is known for. It was truly scenic; it felt like paradise.

Most of my batch mates were staying in dormitory-style rooms, but since I was recovering from a really bad bout of skin allergies then, I had a room to myself. Now, this is a silent retreat, and it meant we couldn't speak. We couldn't converse with each other except during meal times, and even then we had to keep our voices low. It was only when we had our one-on-ones with the priest who joined us that we can speak in a normal volume.

So I did not expect someone singing to me on my first night there.

It was lights out around nine in the evening. With the cool weather and virtually nothing to do (phones were not allowed and there was no internet, of course), I headed to bed, but I had a hard time sleeping. It was suddenly cold. I was already wearing a sweater and a thick pair of pajama pants, but the chill reached my bones quick. But it had left as sudden as it had arrived. As soon as I got into bed and under the covers, it went back to the natural cool of the evening.

I started dozing off not long after but I could still hear my surroundings. The window was closed but one can still hear the crickets or beetles chirping on the trees and the leaves whistling through the leaves. Nothing stirred outside in the hallways: no one was making rounds or making a fuss in the other rooms.

That was when I heard her singing.

Or rather, humming. There were no words to her lullaby, but its tune was like that of a swooping bird—one low note followed by a sharper high note. It might sound off to the regular human being, but it was making me extremely sleepy and even brought me back to an almost forgotten childhood when my own mom (or sometimes nanny) would sing me off to sleep. I didn't bother opening my eyes, my emotions mixed with a slight fear of what I might see and a deep desire to just go to sleep. 

I was probably knocked out moments later, because I woke up the next day in time for breakfast, well-rested and energized. The second night came without a lullaby, so maybe that friendly nightly singer drifted elsewhere to send someone off to a good night's sleep.

We all left the retreat center with renewed faith in ourselves. I didn't bother asking who sang to me that night. Some things are meant to be a mystery, even friendly spirits.
I was born and raised Catholic, and I don't really have major issues with being one - except the major issues of the religion itself. Anyway, since I studied in Catholic schools all my life, I've been attending retreats since sixth grade. While the rest have been run-of-the-mill, "Kumbaya, My Lord" type of retreats, there was one retreat that was, despite a little spooky, was nonetheless meaningful.

I was in my senior year of college, and I volunteered to take part in a three-day silent retreat in Tagaytay, a city around two or so hours away from Manila. It's most known for its pleasant weather, even during summer, and its stunning view of Taal Lake and Volcano. 

There are several retreat centers founded by various Catholic orders in Tagaytay. I forgot which I one I had my silent retreat in, but I remember going there with some of my batch mates to seek some silence and some me-time after four years of "studying." It was surrounded by trees and had a nice view of rolling hills with pineapple farms—another highlight Tagaytay is known for. It was truly scenic; it felt like paradise.

Most of my batch mates were staying in dormitory-style rooms, but since I was recovering from a really bad bout of skin allergies then, I had a room to myself. Now, this is a silent retreat, and it meant we couldn't speak. We couldn't converse with each other except during meal times, and even then we had to keep our voices low. It was only when we had our one-on-ones with the priest who joined us that we can speak in a normal volume.

So I did not expect someone singing to me on my first night there.

It was lights out around nine in the evening. With the cool weather and virtually nothing to do (phones were not allowed and there was no internet, of course), I headed to bed, but I had a hard time sleeping. It was suddenly cold. I was already wearing a sweater and a thick pair of pajama pants, but the chill reached my bones quick. But it had left as sudden as it had arrived. As soon as I got into bed and under the covers, it went back to the natural cool of the evening.

I started dozing off not long after but I could still hear my surroundings. The window was closed but one can still hear the crickets or beetles chirping on the trees and the leaves whistling through the leaves. Nothing stirred outside in the hallways: no one was making rounds or making a fuss in the other rooms.

That was when I heard her singing.

Or rather, humming. There were no words to her lullaby, but its tune was like that of a swooping bird—one low note followed by a sharper high note. It might sound off to the regular human being, but it was making me extremely sleepy and even brought me back to an almost forgotten childhood when my own mom (or sometimes nanny) would sing me off to sleep. I didn't bother opening my eyes, my emotions mixed with a slight fear of what I might see and a deep desire to just go to sleep. 

I was probably knocked out moments later, because I woke up the next day in time for breakfast, well-rested and energized. The second night came without a lullaby, so maybe that friendly nightly singer drifted elsewhere to send someone off to a good night's sleep.

We all left the retreat center with renewed faith in ourselves. I didn't bother asking who sang to me that night. Some things are meant to be a mystery, even friendly spirits.

© slenderghoul - 04-01-19



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