Morning in Ubud

Salamat Pagi!  (Good morning in Indonesian).

This photo is of the morning market, where Balinese go to purchase their produce for the day. Nyoman took me with her, but I had to stand away from where she was making her purchases or she would get charged "white skin" prices.  

I hadn't considered how being on the southern side of the equator influences one's view of the stars and sun.  Wrapping my mind around where the sun rises, sets, and how the stars on configured on this side of the planet and equator is twisting my understanding.  Much about being here, where Thanksgiving, my birthday, our anniversary, Christmas, and Easter will all go unnoticed, twists my brain.   There is a rhythm here that is softer and slower.  A heaviness, almost womblike, that feels like a combination of the heat and humidity, laced with tropical flowers and rain.  Everything slows.  Days are running into one another, with dates feeling meaningless and the moon, sun, temple ceremonies, and heat patterns guiding our activities.

We've been up since 5 to begin our daily meditation and yoga practice, and there has been constant drumming since 5:30 am.  Not a rhythm, really.  Just a constant, "dum... dum... dum.. dum..."  It fades in and out of my consciousness.  Ritual fills the air always here.  Voice, drum, fire, costume. It could possibly be cremation time here, which occurs one time per month (whereby bodies are often buried in this tropical land for upwards of two months until the family can afford the cremation, which costs somewhere around three months wages).  But if it is, indeed, cremation time, we are not sure.  Maybe not.  We are still getting our "Bali legs so we can know these things.  

Tomorrow we walk with Nuadi at sunrise.  Walking through the ricefields and along the shores of the Ayung River to visit his village, immediate and extended families.  He will likely, as he has done before, share with us all the ways that his family can offer something for us, by means of producing something that we export to the U.S. for purchase by the rich people of America (and to them, anyone who can afford to come here is "rich").  We will see Batik, baskets, clothing, cushions, stone and wood carvings, and much more.  We'll sit on the floor of his family compound "living room" (an outdoor, shiny-tiled stoop that extends from his bedroom and kitchen) and share a Balinese rice cake and drink of whatever sort is offered.  We'll talk chickens, pigs, and cows (the equivalent of talking about what one does for a living in the U.S.)  and then without notice, he'll stand and beckon us to begin our walk home for breakfast.  Getting one's relationships in order in Bali feels important.  Having them know we respect them and their ways, and abide by their cultural norms creates a soul tether that helps us feel safe and supported while visiting their land.

And that is all for now.  Our life is here is studious, regulated and a bit sleepy, in a sweet sort of way.  Roosters are our alarm clock and any activity in close proximity of our house is signaled by a "wow wow wow" of the nearby Bali Dog, which looks just like the neighbors, and just like the neighbor's neighbor, etc.

My wish for you, as you move toward the holidays is that you find simplicity in your home and in your lives.  Cook together, make gifts together, sing together, and play games together.  Nourish your relationships and the love that feeds our existence, and to which, someday, we all return.