A Morning Offering
March 31, 2017
Unlike Vancouver Island, here in Bali the doors and windows are always open, to get a breeze and to listen to the unusual birds, the bullfrogs, and the insects.
One insect buzzes and buzzes and buzzes, steadily for ten, fifteen minutes.
For awhile I thought an electrical transformer was malfunctioning, like the one outside our place in Naxos, but I later decided the noise was an insect. I asked Made Girl, one of the housekeepers, for the insect's name but I don't think she hears it as she couldn't answer.
Every morning Made Girl comes to my open double doorway and says "Hello?" before she comes in.
She carries a tray with the makings for
She slips off her flip flops and comes
into the kitchen. If there are dirty dishes she will wash them but there never are.
At most there are a few on the drying rack to put away.
This morning, like most, Made Girl made me scrambled eggs, toast, sliced fruit, and French press coffee. There is ginger lime marmelade for the toast.
After serving me she asks if I need anything and she asks about tomorrow's breakfast. Most mornings she is talkative, today she is quiet, subdued. I wonder what has changed.
She leaves. She'll return in an hour or so, to put away the breakfast dishes that I will have already washed, sweep the whole house, make the bed which I have not made as I find their method too complex, check towels and the drinking water supply.
Spanning this time just outside my open doorway an older woman is presenting offerings. Her ceremony seems to be more drawn out today, perhaps today is special. There are many special days in Bali.
She started before breakfast and contines long after breakfast, taking maybe 45 minutes or an hour.
The woman making the offerings carries a large wooden tray piled high with little hand-weaved trays, flowers, leaves, and incense. She sets it on a ledge of the stone shrine.
Slowly, methodically she lifts items from her tray and assembles each offering.
She carefully places each offering most of which smoke from incense. She pauses, spending time with each. If she is saying something I don't know, I cannot hear and I don't of course interrupt.
She walks down the hill towards the creek, and later i find another lower down on the path.
I keep thinking she is done, but she revists each offering, adjusting them, pausing, and adjusting them again. She walks towards the water again then returns. She walks up to my doorway,
not far from where I am sitting and eating and places a small weaved tray with orange and red flowers and burning incense on my doorsill.
Smoke from the incense surrounds her
as a shaft of sunlight breaks through, her head enveloped in an ethereal glow for a brief moment. A smoky whiff of incense enters the house.
Finally she returns to the shrine, picks up her tray, and walks away.
Later I look for the offerings, to examine them. I find eight, there are probably more. They blend in with the lush greenery, the bright flowers, the orchids that are growing and flowering on the trees. I find them on my doorstep, on the path by my door, at the base of the shrine, on the shrine, in a branch of a tree, ... Many offerings, many gods to honour.
After breakfast I walk into town to head over to the nearby Ridge Trail. I complete the hike and return home by mid afternoon, just in time for a heavy rainstorm to pass through, which cools things off considerably.
Made Girl bringing breakfast
Something completely different
I'm heading to the Ridge Trail, passing through the hustle-bustle of Ubud's main drag.
I've no idea what this is
This meal cost 45,000!
While hiking the ridge trail I stopped for lunch. Cost was 45,000 which is a little over $4.50 Canadian. All those zeroes take getting used to
especially as the currency doesn't group them so you get bills marked 10000 ($1),
100000 ($10), and so on.
It would be clearer with the addition of some commas or periods, like 100,000.
I don't usually do food shots, I put them in the same annoying category as selfies
(why would I think you want to see my ugly face?),
but what the hell. I stopped for lunch at a charming cafe by a rice paddy where
the food was very flavorful.
It's an easy hike and the trail is in fine
shape but the heat and humidity make
every step a little harder.