The Extraordinariness of Daily Life

dsc07193One morning earlier this week, I am photographed and fingerprinted. How mug shots become normal. A make-work project for locals. Pride & joy. Pomp & circumstance. Pure hot air. Ah. Life in Bali.

Then I witness a subtly-stained saucer of a moon dominate the sky – with a grandeur and proximity that startle.dsc06791

Watch boys and men in plaid skirts wield torches, blurt out nonsensical guttural sounds while kicking around coconut husks engulfed in flames.

A fault line beneath the ground shifts enough to cause my walls to shudder and to spit me out of bed. Richter judges it a newsworthy 6.2. Absence of sound assures me: just an (extra?) ordinary jiggle.

The lights go out – in my house alone. Surrounding neighbours are oblivious, still attuned to their televisions, music, drink (until 2 am) and feasting.

dsc06630Chocolate and other dogs sniff bones in hand, grab and shield them from others, escaping in delight.

Herons cross the sky, almost punctually, after 6.

The shrieks of tile-cutting compete with a cat’s mewing, a baby’s wailing, the rumbling of a teenager’s souped-up motorbike.

Aroma of gardenias catches me mid-step as I move to lock my gate. Extraordinary scent tickles my nostrils.

My resident frog, immovable in a dark corner beneath the sink, imagines herself invisible. By now, squatter’s rights. A name is in the offing.dsc07204

Office clerks wait outside, past opening time, the forgotten door key to arrive. Business as usual. Computer offline. Sorry sorry. Come back another time. Faux flowers on a counter displayed with intent to alleviate angst.

Scruffy mutt eyes follow me as I pass. The message: Please take me with you, I need a bath.

dsc07222Walking towards me, swishing in his sarong, Made wields a paintbrush. Back from meeting the priest. Sticky rice grains dot his forehead.

Dull grey sidles up against golden sheaths clamouring for harvest. Uneasy cohabitation.

Farmers carry scythes. Workers carry stone. Ladies sweat amid heaps of laundry.

Far from beach and temples. Markets and souvenirs do not inhabit this world.

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