[From the blog of the Batasan 6] Excerpts from Satur Ocampo’s reflections on the Lenten season

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On Monday, the Lenten Week began. The TV news since that night reported lengthily on the exodus of people from the metropolis to the provinces. Each person interviewed expressed the wish to return to one s hometown, there to observe, with family and friends, the annual religious rites about the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

The thought that I would not be able to leave the House during the Lenten Week brought me a deep sense of sadness. Not that I am so religiously-inclined as to profoundly feel being deprived of my right to fulfill my socio-religious obligation, although I was brought up in a large peasant family keen on observing the rites of Lent every passing year and, I must concede, the solemnity of the rites and the utter devotedness of my town folk to such rites never fail to move me. But that I can afford to miss this year.

What saddens me is the thought that I wouldn’t be able to see my mother, all of 95 years now. I will not be able to comfort her with the assurance that I am okay, and that her brood of 12 children, all living, would become whole one more time: within view of her failing sight, her hearing our familiar voices that are music to her, as she gives us her tender loving caresses and blessing.

I am, after all these 67 years of my life, a son with a strong impulse to go back to my mother s bosom that had nursed me as a baby. I yearn to sit by my mother s side and listen to her again talk of the years gone by in those vast expanse of rice fields where I grew up as a farm boy. She would muse always with an infectious mirthfulness that never fades. At 95, my mother is ever youthful-sounding and youthful-feeling in her reveries.

This Lenten week, I’ll miss her the most.