dinsdag 6 december 2011

My new story in "Ubud Community" of December 2011:

Dream or Reality (3)

text and image by Hans Smeekes

Same spot. Same time. Exactly on midnight our new friends Tu Tokeh, the gecko and Tu Kodok, the frog are appearing again in front of us, Fifi and me sitting in expectation on the big bed.

‘And ...,’ Tu Tokeh starts the conversation, ‘how was your full moon day?’

’Following your advice we went to the beach, we watched people praying and playing and were impressed by the coming together of all these things.’

‘Yes, that is Bali, the wholeness.’

‘Having a good time first in the small warung looking out over the black sand and the wild ocean we saw the Balinese people slowly arriving in a procession nicely dressed up carrying with them holy statues and many offerings.’

‘In the day they can walk around in a modern shirt and jeans, busy with daily life, but entering a temple or like here with a ceremony on the beach, the Balinese people experience the real Bali, it is the transformation,’ Tu Tokeh explains.

‘Yes then they are so beautiful, it is like they are offering themselves, it is like art,’ Fifi says.

‘That is what it is, the word Bali means offering and offering is beautiful and we use a saying here in the palace: art is beautiful and beautiful is art,’ Tu Kodok joins in with his croaky voice.

‘Once we heard an artist saying: everything on Bali is art, even co

mbing the hair is art.’

‘Yes the people live and love these things, to make everything beautiful, they move in an artistic way ... everything .... so they have this attitude to make everything beautiful - look at the gardens - it is culminating when going to a temple,’ Tu Kodok continues.

‘On our “businesscard” we put as a kind of brand name: “the art of living”,’ Fifi says, ’it is a joke because we are not selling anything and this we always emphasize when giving it, but in essence it implies our attitude in life. Once a woman reacted when we had given the card and had added: we only sell happiness, ”but you already did”. And this makes us very happy.’

‘After the ceremony,’ I continue, ‘we saw people entering the water, cleansing themselves and children having big fun in the water. In the meantime some sellers arrived. One was selling icecream with his well known happy sound to announce that he was there, another was taking with him on the sand a mobile barbecue to make saté, another one was selling kites in the shape of a plane, so soon the beach was becoming a fair. Boys had found a football to play with. Girls chasing each other. Mothers with little children going into the sea. Everyone so happy in the orange light of the sun. With on the background the rough and wild sea. With its accompanying noise. Here we felt the power of nature and at the same time the joy of life.’

‘Did you feel the sand?’ Tu Kodok and Tu Tokeh ask in unison.

‘Yes I took off my shoes, because I wanted to feel the water at my bare feet. But the sand was hot. I cannot imagine Balinese people can stand that heat. It is like walking on burning coal. So in my opinion this is a healing itself and then I had the sensation of the water, the cleansing.’

‘One man was almost entirely covered with the black sand, protected against the sun by a many coloured umbrella. Only his head, arms and toes were visible. We asked him what he was doing. The friendly man told us he had a severe motorcycle accident, one leg broken and this was a kind of therapy in the healing process. According to him it is a good method against rheumatism and arthritis. That kind of thing. The black sand seems to have this quality, because of the radiation.’

‘It is the volcanic basic, it is also why the soil is so fertile on the island. The advantage of these mountains. The volcanos give us food and have a healing effect. And the water is coming down from there. The birthplace of the rivers. That’s why the mountains are venerated, together with the water. The thrones of the gods, the source,’ Tu Kodok explains.

‘The man in the black sand invited Fifi to accompany him, because she suffers from arthritis.’

‘You did?’

‘No way,’ is Fifi’s fast reaction, ‘I like more to sit quietly in the warung with a cup of Bali coffee.’

‘We wished the friendly man in the sand good luck and soon our attention was attracted by the fishermen arriving. Some started to be busy untwining the nets and we were mostly struck by three men entering the rough ocean with a long wooden pole and a net.

The big waves were taking two of them away holding the pole. Up and down. The third one stayed close to the beach, holding a long line, which was connected to the stick. Smaller and smaller became the two brave men. My eyes were fixed on the spot where they seem to disappear. The sun was already going down, making golden lights on the water. The lights were dancing. From a moment I saw many colours, like coming out of a golden pot, the holy grail.’

‘Then my eyes were fixed on the black sand, which also changed, from black in all kind of shades. I realised this is Mother Earth in all her appearances. And we are the children ...’

‘Sometimes,’ Fifi says, ‘we say to each other: are we really on Bali or is it a dream?’

‘And now talking with you, a gecko and a frog, is thís not a dream?’ I wonder.

‘Maybe you are in óur dream,’ Tu Kodok reacts with a mysterious smile.

At the same moment we are looking at an empty spot ....

Dream or reality? Whatever, as long as we are enjoying ourselves. The art of living.

Hans Smeekes

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