Early mornings are slow going on my side of the mountain. This early January, specially, is exceptionally dawdling. The cool mornings only effectively secures me deep in my blanket. Even though my thoughts run ahead of me, my body only sluggishly responds. On better days, I set my alarm to go off 5:45 in the morning and “snooze” me every five minutes. By the time I’m fully awake it’s already 6:30 a.m. I pack hurriedly. I cram my “evolvs”, and chalk bag into a small sling bag, and throw my crash pads into the hollow of my pick-up truck’s cab.
I ride up the small hillside and come over the ridge to cross over from Marikina to San Mateo. The drive doesn’t take too long and the newly smoothened out asphalt road inspires a sudden thought to go skate. A dreamy skate ride plays around my mind as I drive towards Wawa. I almost feel the no resistance state and I’m suddenly so relaxed. Time felt surreally slow for a moment. Unlike waking up too early in the morning, this new flow, I felt, seem to beckon. I’m aware of the many resistances in the world. Civilization as we know it today is only starting to see the effects of centuries old resistances it faced in the hands of natural order. I myself, after climbing and fending of gravity for quite a while, feel the call of “going with the flow.” Carving down that smooth asphalt near home couldn’t be a too bad an idea. I know it’s going to happen but somehow I still felt too at home with taming a resistance I am all too familiar with.
I get off my truck and haul up the pad. Aling Norma’s Eatery is a sight for sore eyes. I’m greeted with so friendly smiles that warms me a bit from the chilly air running beneath the giant Acacia trees. I set down everything I have and start picking something from the counter for breakfast. Two cups of coffee and then Aling Norma’s home cooked “goto with egg”, charming! I love the picking part and then chatting with Aling Norma while enjoying breakfast. It’s always fun sharing short conversations with her. I’m almost at home there. I must admit though, I haven’t been to Wawa for the longest time. Years of constrained access issues plus the continued decline of the natural state of the park contributed to my gradual dislike for the area. Now however, I’ve gained a bit of an acceptance and I’m able to take in Wawa for what it is today. It’s not saying I like what’s happening to the park, I’m just able to see it for the charms it still able to give. What can I say, she’s old. I can’t be mean to an old lady.
Breakfast comes to a close and I lug on the pads and hike slowly towards the “Kambingan boulder”. I’ve a boulder problem to finish. It’s become a project and it’s the reason why I woke up early. I could feel the resistance already just by looking at it. The line is simple and direct. From under the boulder’s roof, the line follows a series of good holds and then just over the lip, the problem becomes heavy. A crimper for the left bites down on two fingers. Several tries on the problem later, I’m nursing deep pricks on my fore and middle fingers. The whole of the morning I spent under that boulder. It’s the only thing a came there for. In the process though, I’ve come to realize the better things about Wawa. Counting them all can be a bit boring but there’s one funny scene I’d cherish somehow. I had the opportunity to share some funny stories with two small kids. The chit-chat was funny from the get-go. Adin and Jen-Jen, if I got the spelling’s right, stayed with me the entire time I was under that boulder. Adin’s 10 and Jen-Jen’s 8. They’re both boys and they looked fairly small for their age. Topics shot from how Ondoy wrecked havoc in their small barangay , to ghosts, to snakes, to trash and to how come they look so small. I’d rather not recount their Ondoy experience but that piece of the story did ground me more to Wawa. They’ve taken the experience lightly even while speaking of what to me sounded like harrowing ordeals. On a lighter tone I asked, “10 ka na? Ikaw 8?, eh’ bat ang liit nyo?” (you’re 10 and you’re 8? Why do you look so small?”), somehow I thought they would answer somewhere like, “kasi di kami masyado kumakain” (“because we have little to eat”), but instead they answered, “Kasi tatay namin pandak!” (“because our fathers are excessively short!”). Their answers merited a huge fit of laugher. They continued on comparing whose father was shorter. I didn’t care anymore, they were witty for their age. The whole conversation with the two made the project lighter, though not enough for me to finish it. There was the “flow” feeling again. It felt very natural, it made things more casual. Wawa once again is growing on me and though the fear of losing the park to more and more informal settlers still looms over the river town, all hope is not lost. Maybe there’s still hope. I was able to connect with the kids and probably that’s the key.
In the meantime, I’ve to run off to the gym, crank in some more resistance. It is after all what I do. I gain more craving for “flow” through living in “resistance.”