To bathe myself at night under your thick coat of stars
and walk and run barefoot on your earth, ice, grass,
feel the skin on my feet giggle in recognition
of your tender caress.
To jump into the ocean of your salty embrace
dive deep into the womb of your liquid heart
and wake up everyday to the sound of you
the decisive triviality of all your myriad shapes and forms.
I had never truly thought much about the wonder of you
and for that I am sorry.
To say I have taken you for granted does not really do it justice
and I have used you to discard you
reaped you to defile you
you quench my thirst
calm my fear
clothe my heart
and nurture the very meaning of my life.
Can you ever forgive the reckless foolish lover that I am?
If there is one thing that our time in Bali has brought to the forefront of our attention is a sense of reverence towards nature. We know this sounds a bit cliche: two white expats go to Bali and ‘fall in love with the place.’ But there’s more to it than that.
Perhaps because we’re both very aware of our middle-class privilege –a privilege allowing us to travel to distant places and experience the reality of other cultures without any trouble– we also feel a great deal of responsibility, something we have already written about. This is the type of responsibility that comes with being conscious about how our presence in Indonesia, for example, also contributes to many of the dynamics we hate the most. And honestly, there’s not much we can do about it but acknowledge this uncomfortable truth and stay with the discomfort. We must all be honest about how it really feels like to live a conscious life in our respective places of residence.
But the truth is also that our time in Indonesia has taught us to pay closer attention to how we make use of nature and to how much time we actually get to spend in nature. And we are really, truly in awe of mother nature’s generosity, resilience, exuberance, variety... Its innocent abundance even. So much so, that it has become almost impossible to ignore things we were previously really good at ignoring –a real blessing in disguise.
Any random search on google will unearth hundreds of entries speaking wonders about the healing power of our outdoors and all the psycho-physiological benefits inherent in due reconnection with mother nature. From lowering stress and anxiety levels, to lessening depression, aiding the recovery from a variety of dependencies, helping us connect to the world around us and to others and instilling a sense of belonging to something larger than our individual life, nature's power over our emotions seems to have no limits. But reading about it doesn’t much help us feel the benefits. I mean, you really need to take a walk in the park to actually get the point of why walking in the park is a cool thing to begin with, right? So, it takes for one to get out and open herself to nature’s ordinary spectacles to begin to realize what all those entries and love poems about nature are really speaking about.
Granted, you do not need to come all the way to Bali to realize this. But perhaps because of this island’s ‘treasure of transparency’ at this particular juncture we have started to pay closer attention to what surrounds us. And by this, we mean that being in Bali at this particular point in time –as it transitions from a rural enclave into one of the ‘chillest tourist capitals’ in the archipelago– makes it impossible not to notice nature, if only to see how it progressively disappears. With this comes the realization that what we are witnessing right now here in this tropical reservoir has already happened in countless other places much earlier as well. We were, perhaps, too young to notice the changes at the time they were happening or too busy with life to really pay attention; to see the green slowly turn brick and concrete, the gravel and soil paths asphalt black. Yet, not all development is negative, and we must also admit to that.
But can we all agree to how awesome it is to be able to still enjoy the mountains, rivers, beaches, and parks? To how amazing it feels to suck in the cool, fresh air of an early morning hike, or the moist and damp smell of the earth as the rain begins to hit the ground? Can we all agree to how incredible a walk in a fertile piece of land is, or how amazingly verdant the feeling of life being lived at all moments in all places at once? We can all use a bit more of all of these particular sensations at this particular point in time, as the glaciers melt and disappear, and the rainforests burn.
It all has already happened before, hasn't it? And we can’t undo the past. But can we all agree that it's time we take stock of our 'human nature' and begin making healthy choices for all forms of life? This entry goes to Mother Nature in appreciation of her unconditional support and generosity. May all of us live long enough to see the world finally wake up.