The Making of a Fairy – Part One

I never met a real fairy, but I know people that have.

But this story is not about a real fairy, but someone that resembled a fairy so much that I was inspired to create a paining of her.

I met this ‘fairy’ when I was in Bali. She was in my Spiritual Healing Class and I noticed her right away. In class we called her Helen (ha ha … not a good name for a fairy!)

I’m going to refer to her as ‘the fairy’ because that is how I saw her. She had a sprite-li-ness about her, like someone who flirts with nature, full of life, small boned, with a twinkle in her eye. 

Trying not to stare, I watched her for many days, and then one day she caught me.

“You remind me of a fairy” I said.  I told her when I got home I wanted to do a painting of her.

I remember following ‘the fairy’ one day when we were touring the Elephant Cave near Ubud. The surrounding area included lush tropical vegetation, trees, gardens and a waterfall. The fairy was walking down the stairs in front of me. All of a sudden she stopped and exclaimed, “Did ya see that? There’s a big bug on a leaf!”

I looked at where she was pointing and noticed nothing. She positioned her camera to capture a shot, but decided she needed a longer lens for a close up. I continued to look from every angle for the big bug. It wasn’t until after ‘the fairy’ took the shot, and showed me the bug from the back of her camera that I could then find the bug on the leaf.

“Amazing” I remarked, “I don’t know how you possibly noticed that while walking down these stairs.”

In the span of the next fifteen minutes ‘the fairy’ found and photographed a spider with a large web and a beautiful butterfly. Interesting.  I consider myself an observant person, but I had walked past three of these insect type creatures and never noticed them.

 ‘The fairy’ had small features and a loving nature.  Some days it seemed she just squealed with delight. She would talk about how she loved to be in nature, and I just smiled at her and nodded, because I felt in some lifetime she must have been a fairy.  

Since I have been home, I have never forgotten ‘the fairy’. Many mornings I have awaken with her on my mind, contemplating how I would ever create a meaningful image while capturing her essence.

No, I haven’t gone bonkers, I know that she is a real person, and lives a real life some where in England. But as artists, we are inspired by life around us and ‘the fairy’ has inspired me.

So I will begin here … with you the reader … and my imagination.

I plan this blog as part one, and will add to it a series of smaller blogs so you can follow along, giving you insight about how I think and create images.

Thus far I have no concept (except a fairy in a nature setting). I can’t tell you how I will approach the subject, but I do think it will be an interesting thing to blog about.  Plus, there is an aspect of ‘telling the world’ about what you are going to do; it forces you to follow thru with your plans. I take a big breath and begin.

First, I located the pictures of ‘the fairy’ that I had taken when I was in Bali.  If I’m going to create this image of ‘the fairy’, then I need a reference to look at. I also need some references for a setting in which I would place the fairy. It seemed fitting to use an image taken in Bali for the background. I have narrowed my selection down to these two background images.

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I can imagine the fairy instead of the bird in this image. And I can imagine the fairy sitting on a petal in this image.

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I love, love, love this first image. In my study of fairies, most fairies are not smiling. But the whimsical image of ‘the fairy’ suits her better.

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I also want to include the purple and white colors from this flower image for her wings. And maybe reference this butterfly to use in the painting.

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I want the fairies clothes to be flowing and light. I found these two references on the internet.

After much consideration, I am leaning toward using the image of ‘the fairy’ smiling, because I checked Helen’s face book page, and she is smiling all the time (although I welcome your thoughts and input on which background image to consider). So please comment with your thoughts … I would love hearing from you.

The Biker and The Artist

At the beginning of my fourth week in Bali my husband came to join me on my travels, with full anticipation and excitement of riding a bicycle downhill, from the top of Batur, an active volcano in northeast Bali. It is a well advertised tourist activity. Although I loving try to support my husband in his bike riding activities, I really don’t enjoy long and somewhat dangerous treks on the bike.On the morning of the bike tour, I thought that I would ‘brave up’ and join him on the ride. Reality hit me when I saw the truck full of bikes, felt the gnawing pain in the pit of my stomach and tried the ‘oh, so different from home’ bike they had taken out of the truck for me. I rode about a block (or less) on this new bike and felt unsafe. I thought, what if the brake fails, or there are too many bad roads and steep hills? I dismounted the bike and parked it by the truck.

I felt our bike guide was a kind and loving man, since I had been with him all morning as we rode up the volcano in his van. I approached him, “Are you going to have a vehicle traveling down the mountain with the bikers?” I asked.

“Yes, my driver over there will drive that car.”

Not wanting to be labeled a quitter, I smiled at him. Then I took a deep breath to make my ‘caring for myself’ statement, “I do not want to ride the bike down the mountain. I want to ride with the man in the car. Would that be okay?” I asked.

“Of course” he answered with a puzzled look on his face, “but are you sure you don’t want to ride the bike?”  He questioned, as if trying to understand.

“Yes, I am quite sure” I responded, and I walked up to the empty car with the driver standing beside it. The tour guide said something to the driver in Balinese, and the driver looked at me.

“You can get in” he replied with a smile.  My mind was creating a secret plan. It was as though it was supposed to be this way. I would be the ‘event photographer’ and capture the countryside as we drove along. I knew that it would be difficult for my husband to take pictures while on a bike with his point and shoot. I imagined him going down the hill at barreling speeds, hardly using his brakes, creating a rush of adrenaline within his body and feeding his need for adventure!

The group of four bikers was off, and I followed feeling very safe in front seat of the car with my driver, a young handsome Balinese man. I turned to introduce myself and tell my story. He responded that he only knew ‘little English’ and so we rode in silence. The trip was somewhat uneventful and I tried to use discretion about how many times I rolled down the window to take a picture from the air-conditioned car. We had lost track of the bikers and I pretended I was on my own private tour of the area. After about fifteen minutes I saw a beautiful field of marigolds and asked the driver if he would stop so I could get out of the car to get a better picture. Apparently he understood, because the car slowed and stopped along the road. I carefully climbed over the ditch to get a better camera angle. After I finished clicking through ten frames, I turned around and the group of four bikers had stopped next to me. Apparently we are taking the same route, I said to myself. I would have something to share with my husband after all, two different experiences on the same path.

I didn’t see the bikers again until I finished the journey down the mountain. Some of the streets were tarred, but many were dusty, narrow and pitted with large holes. I complimented myself on my decision to ‘take the easy way down’, and hoped that the others were having the time of their lives.

At the bottom of the hill was a huge temple. My driver and I had vacated the car and I noticed that he was having a cigarette break while watching me photograph the temple. In the distance near the temple I could hear the voices of children, and then noticed a man talking to a group of 12 to 13 year olds in a school yard quite a distance away. I photographed the scene and then used the zoom on my camera to get a closer image. I was in the space of – ‘myself’ doing whatever I wanted.

The driver and another man approached me, “Come, we go now” he said in broken English, and then introduced me to his friend, and explained that I would continue the tour with him. The new man, Nyoman, turned and I followed.

“Oh, Nyoman, you are a third born!” I replied, remembering the story that all Balinese people, both men and women are named one of just 4 names: Wayan, Made, Nyoman or Ketut, in that order. Simple reasoning made Nyoman the third child in the family.

“This is my village” he said. I could tell he was very proud. As we walked the dirt path to the village, he would smile and nod to people as we passed. Occasionally I would stop and photograph an interesting person or scene. Once he stopped and said something to a friend in Balinese. The only word I could understand was “American” so obviously he was talking about me. I continued the fantasy that I was a famous photo journalist on a special assignment.

Part of the bike tour included a trek through the Sawah (rice field) which I wrote about in a previous blog. After the hour-long trek, we were back near the village. Nyoman smiled and seemed to light up.  He pointed, “Look, my company!” he said. I looked through the distance at yards and yards of green fields. I could not see anything that looked any different.

When we got to the village Nyoman told me to wait here, by the side of the rice field for a short while and a driver would come and get me. And then, as I watched the rice fields, the bikers came into view. They were riding their bikes on the narrow rows of seared grasses where I had walked. They were hot, sweaty, and very thirsty. I smiled and thought, you made the right decision. Then about five minutes later my original driver appeared to take me someplace else. I was blindly following strangers from place to place.

The next part of my adventure brought me to another highlight of my day, the Artist. I have loved art since I was a little girl. I love the way the paint forms on the paper and all the colors, brushes, mediums, and papers we use to create art. I had a brief knowledge of the traditional Balinese art, and now I had a chance to experience it and ‘meet the artist’!

Wayan, the artist had the most beautiful smile and welcomed me to his home. He told me that he was an artist and an art teacher, and pointed to a long set of tables at the end of a building.

“These are my students and my wife” he said. I asked him if I could take some photographs.

“Of course”, he said in perfect English.

After I finished photographing the young boy students, he explained his craft to me. He was one of the last traditional Indonesian painters alive, and it was very important for him to continue to teach the young children in Bali this type of art. He told me he exhibited in America; he also had his paintings in galleries throughout the world.  The paintings the children were working on were on paper and exhibited bright colors and a balanced composition. I was amazed at the discipline of the children as the focused on their work.

“Are they using black China ink?”

“Yes, with acrylics”, he answered. I thought to myself, apparently the west has caught up with him, as he no longer uses natural dyes from plant sources.

I remembered reading about Bali art. Prior to 1920s, Balinese traditional paintings were restricted to what is now known as the Kamasan or Wayang style. Those paintings were visual narrative of Hindu-Javanese epics: the Ramayana and Mahabharata, as well as a number of indigenous stories, such as the Panji narrative. The paintings are old and were made with natural dyes. Some hung in an art museum I visited in Ubud. The paintings were produced collaboratively, and are mostly anonymous. In the 1930’s the art form became liberated, and the Balinese artists began to paint scenes from rural life. These new artists were called “young artists” because of their new style of painting. The objects in these paintings included birds, flowers and animals.

In the 1950’s the artists incorporated perspective and anatomy in their art. The Ubud artists have their own collection of artwork which is different from the work in Sanur and Batuan, other towns in Bali. (Wayan didn’t relay those facts to me. They came from the Ubud museum and the internet.)

When the bikers arrived at Wayan’s home, we ate lunch together and Wayan disappeared. I listened while the bikers talked about their experiences, and my husband leaned over and told me that the ride was quite tough and I had made the right decision to ride in the car. “I know” I replied, smiling to myself.

When we finished with lunch Wayan returned and asked if we would like to see his private collection.

“Oh yes” I answered with glee. Then the bikers and I settled around one of the long tables. Wayan went to the cabinet at the end of the room and took out a stack of paintings, one more detailed and as precise as the next. Some were as small as a large postage stamp. He set them out on the table for us to admire. Then he took one painting of a traditional Indonesian couple and set it alongside me.

“This is the work of my wife” he said.

“How much does she want for it?”

“Three hundred forty-two thousand rupiah.”

Mentally I calculated that to be about thirty-four American dollars.  I felt as if I were at a silent auction and no one else was saying anything. The bikers stood up to leave and Wayan started to gather up his paintings and put them away.

“I’ll take it!” I found myself blurting out, very surprised that I had spoken.

“Would you like it signed?”

“Yes, please!”

“I will sign it for you, with my wife’s name.” he said, and he moved to another table. He took out a brush and some white paint. In the tiniest painting you can imagine he mastered a signature.  “I will wrap it for you to take back to the States” he said and he left with the painting.

He handed the small package to me and we thanked each other, him for my purchase, and I, for the art education and the lunch. Then I turned and followed the bikers to the van. I noticed the sweat on their shirts that had collected under their arms and in the middle of their backs. I had a wonderful day, was cool and comfortable, had some great photographs and a beautiful painting to treasure.

I guess if there was a moral to this story it would be one of self-preservation, or better known as ‘taking care of yourself’. Do you notice how many times daily you do something because someone else wants you to? Maybe you look outside and know it would be a great day for a walk, and instead you start the laundry. Or a friend calls and goes on and on when your favorite show is starting? I am not saying that we be unkind or  disregard the needs of others. I am suggesting that every day we consider what we want and what is important to us. Loving yourself daily … something to think about.

Batur

    Batur

Bike trail

Bike trail

Marigold Field

Marigold Field

Students

Students

Village people

Village people

Village wood worker

Village wood worker

Village boy

Village boy

Cyclist coming from rice field

Cyclist coming from rice field

Happy Cyclist

Happy Cyclist

The Arist

The Arist

Traditional Balinese Art-Anak Agung Gedi Meregig. C 1980's. From the Ramayana epic. Hanoman is top right, attacked by monkeys.

Traditional Balinese Art-Anak Agung Gedi Meregig. C 1980’s. From the Ramayana epic. Hanoman is top right, attacked by monkeys.

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The Artists Wife

The Artists Wife

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Cultural Adjustment

I am home, back in Minnesota (sigh). In fact, I have been here for a week. It was a hard adjustment. I don’t think it was because of the cold artic air, okay, I am exaggerating a bit, it is only autumn in Minnesota.

I noticed that I just couldn’t find the right warm clothes to wear and I kept turning the furnace thermostat up. I couldn’t sleep at night, and during the day I always felt it should be ‘nap time’.  I think the word for it is ‘jet lag’. I have adjusted, and as I pen this article I have a small ache in my heart for Bali. Would I go back? Yes.

So what was the reason for this sudden extended trip to Bali, you might be wondering? Why would anyone buy an airline ticket on Monday and then on Friday fly half way across the world? I didn’t know the answer to that question myself, until I arrived home and everything felt different. I felt as though I was waking up from a dream. I looked at the house and the neighborhood. Everything was the same, and in ‘its place’. Time had changed the season; the leaves on the trees had changed, making their yearly recycling trip. The change was bigger than that, it was within me.

When people asked me, “What was the most memorable experience of your trip?” I quickly answered, “The water blessing by the Priestess”. I knew that something had happened to me during the blessing. It wasn’t something I could feel … at that moment, it was something that I felt later … and thinking back now, maybe it was the Priestess and all the ceremonies and the loving people and the rice fields and Ubud, the little three street town in Bali.

So what did I learn?  I learned that I need much more ceremony in my life. I don’t have to make my ceremonies ‘Bali style’. In my humble opinion they spend too much time in ceremony, making ceremony baskets, cutting banana leaves, making penjors, burning 10 sticks of incense daily when they can barely afford to eat.  I watched ritually, each morning as a Balinese person stepped out of their house, hotel or restaurant and placed a prepared offering at the doorway with a lit stick of incense, after that they go through their ‘establishment’ putting offerings in every room, or at every little temple. So today I lit incense and savored the aroma. Somehow, I declared, I will begin my own daily ritual to “honor the Gods and myself” I pondered; the conscious act of ‘an offering’ declares in some way “thank you for all that I have”.

I also learned that I am too busy, and I have too much clutter and too many things. I am quiet and I will become quieter. Now, if you ‘know’ me, you probably wouldn’t say that I have clutter, as I don’t have shelves with knick knacks, and I keep things pretty tidy, but you may agree that I am too busy. I think that my trip to Bali nudged me a little, and so I can see more clearly how ‘busy’ I am. I know the changes I make regarding ‘my busyness’ won’t be sudden, but they will progress and they will be long lasting. How are you doing with busyness?  Are you still running around trying to be and do everything for everybody?

After walking in the hot sun from one place to another, only to find the ‘thing’ was not there when I got there … I realized that nothing is as important as I think it is. That might be part of the Bali life that I brought home with me. I love to read, paint, play the piano and meditate. Yet, the days go by and I fill my time with other ‘things’. So I expect I will focus a little more on the ‘things’ I really like and forget all the rest. I don’t have to be a ‘super woman’ and it’s okay if I didn’t wash my hair today, or if I wore the same clothes for three days. In Bali no one noticed. They just went on having their ceremonies, smiling at people and being happy.

The day before I left I hired a taxi driver to take me to an art museum. He talked about who he was and his family. I asked him if he wanted to drop me off at the museum and then come and pick me up in two hours. He said, “No, I will just stay and wait for you”. I questioned, “But couldn’t you have another fare in those two hours”?  He smiled and responded, “Yes, but I would loose you, and you would find someone else”. “Taxi Driver is what I do.” He took a breath, “I am not a rice farmer, I am not a construction worker, I am a Taxi Driver, and I will wait for you”.

Profound, isn’t it? A Taxi Driver from Bali taught me it is okay to be me. And for you, it is okay to be you. You are perfect just like you are and so am I. In this big world of mishap and ceremonies, everything is really okay.

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Penjors

Penjors

"The Priestess and I"

“The Priestess and I”

Water Blessing

Water Blessing

Sir, I have bad news for you!

Yesterday I started putting my things together to pack for my trip home. I had organized things a little every day, so there wasn’t much to do. I wanted all my souvenirs in one small carry-on, and the things I would need on the plane in my backpack. I had decided to check my small carry-on suitcase this time because I wanted travel ‘to be easy for me.’

I swam in the morning, and then went to have lunch. Since my flight left at 7 PM, I had arranged for my taxi to pick me up at the hotel at 3:30 which would allow 1.5 hours for the drive to the airport. I had everything perfectly planned, or so I thought.

The ride to the airport was uneventful, and I was anxious to get there. I must be yearning to get home, I thought to myself. When I arrived at the airport, I removed my small suitcase from the trunk of the car and I flung my backpack on my back. In two hours I would be on my way. Denpasar has a new airport that is modern and easy to navigate in. I found my way through security and to the Asian Air counter. My husband John was with me.

After waiting a short time in line, I handled the ticket agent my passport and itinerary. I watched the ticket agent, he typed some information into his computer and looked at his screen and then he looked at the passport. Then he looked at the itinerary. Then he opened Johns passport and itinerary and did the same thing, his eyes going back and forth, from the papers to the screen. I got an uneasy feeling that something was wrong. Maybe, the routing isn’t correct I thought to myself. This could be a possibility since my plane coming here was grounded and I left a day later?

After a few minutes of these ‘glances’ the ticket agent stopped, and looked up and said to my husband, “Sir, I have bad news for you, your flight is for tomorrow.” I had come to the airport a day early!!! Ha ha, I couldn’t believe it!

Now you have to understand that in Bali, there is no time. You just float through the day and do whatever you feel like doing, and after being here for five weeks I think I really GOT IT (the floating part). I must have adapted to the Bali way of life because apparently I didn’t even know what day it was … and no one else noticed either. The hotel didn’t notice I was checking out a day early. The security at the airport didn’t notice the date was wrong when they checked my itinerary at the airport, and even my husband didn’t realize that we were trying to go home on a the wrong day!! I mean this is really funny … I can’t stop laughing at myself.

In this situation I had to think quick. “Well”, I smiled at my husband. “You said you wanted to spend a day in Denpasar, didn’t you? Now we have our chance!”
I went down the elevator, heading for the taxi station … and in good Bali fashion I was immediately approached by a driver. “Taxi?”, he said. “Yes” I replied. “I would like a taxi to the closest hotel, how much?” I questioned. “$10000 rupiah.” He stated. “$10000 rupiah!” I exclaimed. “That is too much!” Then he went on about the cost of petrol, and that he would stop at a few hotels so I could pick the right one. I knew that I needed him, and I think he knew it … So I said, “okay.”

Since I really did plan on leaving the country I had already exchanged my rupiahs for American dollars, which meant a quick stop at the ATM. There are many of them at the airport, and within seconds I ‘had money’ and was ready to go again.

The evening in Denpasar has been a wonderful experience. I found a lovely hotel, better than where I was staying for the same price. I was five blocks from the ocean and so I walked with my husband to the beach where I photographed the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen. We ate a delicious dinner at a charming place by the ocean, and are ready to tuck ourselves into bed for the evening.

And tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 I will go to the airport again, this time for real.

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Too Many Zeros

After five weeks in Bali I finally mastered the financial system, well not exactly the financial system, but the money.  I can now pay for meals, massages and souvenirs from the shop vendors without having the clerk count it out for me or asking my friend.

Actually it was my friend that taught me about the money, and as much practice as I have had, I must say, I’ve finally got it!  I don’t think knowing this would classify me as a world traveler, because wherever I go they are going to change the look of the currency and how much their “dollar” means to me. Ha ha!
If you ever come to Indonesia, you will be using the rupiah, and it works like this (compared to the American dollar) $100000 means $10.00 and  $50000 means $5.00. They have many other bills and some coins, but they hardly matter, and you use mostly “tens and fives”.  I find for most meals I will pull out one of those two bills. It all depends on how hungry my tummy is and what I want to drink. Most drinks are $2.00 or $20000 rupiah.
When you first get to the country, it can be very confusing, and you could end up giving the street vendor five dollars when you only needed to give him fifty cents. Can you imagine how happy he would be if you did that?
If you ever come from America to Indonesia I have learned a simple trick that is fool safe. All you have to do is remove four zeros and the number that is left is the number of American dollars.  For example, when the currency is marked 10000, if I removed four zeros, then it would mean $1!
If you have a bill that says 2000, you can’t take off four zeros, because there isn’t four zeros, so instead you have to think of that number as “cents” and that is .20 cents, or 1000 is .10 cents. Simple, right?
Dinner last night for my husband and myself was 149.647, do you know how much I spent?
It only took me five weeks … Just kidding!
Oh, and one more thing. They list their prices with periods, instead of commas. So $10.00 would be listed as 100.000 IDR
Below is a photo of some bills, so you can practice.
I have been told that the government is working on revising the system and taking away some of the zeros … It would be a big job, but I think everyone in Indonesia would love it!
What is the value for the American from the picture  below? ……….  $13.30
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A Meditation in the Terraced Sawah

I stepped carefully over a cement barrier into a luminous sea of green, making sure I had good footing. I continued to walk, step by step in a focused meditation. I allowed space between my guide and myself, as I shared this field only with him and a few birds.  Sunshine and silence and the green sea enveloped me. Within my view were rows and rows of rice fields. I tracked along for almost an hour, in this silent communication with nature.  In the distance you could hear the repeating rhythmic sound of clank-clank, it reminded me of the man I had seen in a different field. The man had two large empty water bottles that he banged together. I imagine he was out there in the early morning scaring the birds from his field. This clank-clank sound was similar and automated by the wind. How clever, I thought to myself.

I noticed a large white bird in the distance, probably an egret. With quiet slow steps I came closer to the bird, and just as I raised my camera to capture its beauty, it took flight.
“Maybe later”, I said to myself. Smiling, seeing how I have become part of the culture. “Maybe later” is the phrase I have used over and over, as I am approached by taxi drivers, and shop owners. “No thank you” was never enough, as the taxi drivers and shop owners would push for a purchase. They would question, “maybe tomorrow”?
So my new phrase became, “no thank you, maybe later”, which I ended up saying every two minutes as I walked through the little “town of Ubud”. And now, the phrase has become a part of me.
My “Bali blog” wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t make note of the rice fields.
Rice is a very important aspect of Balinese life. These rice fields not only dominate the countryside but also the religion and culture. It is the major crop and the main diet of the Balinese people. I have enjoyed rice with every meal, including breakfast! A typical Balinese breakfast is called Nasi Goreng, and it contains fried rice, an egg and a piece of cucumber.
The growing and cultivation of the rice is a large factor in the strength of the Bali community life. As I understand there are four words for rice; Padi is the growing rice plant (hence paddy fields), Gabah is rice after harvesting,  Beras is uncooked grain and Nasi is cooked rice, as in my breakfast rice, Nasi goreng (fried rice) or nasi putih (plain rice).
They use the method of wet rice cultivation. The fields are organized by a Subak, which is made up of all the people that own the land, and each member from the community has a responsibility, such as guarding and cleaning the water canals, regulating the water flow, etc. The Subak dam may be divided into dozens and even hundreds of channels to irrigate to terraced sawah (Rice field).
The crop is harvested with the help of friends and relatives. I watched one morning as a line of people came out of a building with baskets on their heads, and went into the field. I asked Berut, my new Bali friend, “What are they doing”? “They are harvesting the rice,” he replied. “All by hand”? I questioned. “Yes”, he explained. “During the rice harvest a line of harvesters work their way across the field. They cut the rice this way because there is no so much loss of the rice”.  I nodded to Berut, indicating that I was following his broken English. he, continued, “and once all the rice is cut it is gathered into bundles”.
Then Berut got up and walked over to the end of the field and came back with a handful of golden yellow rice strands. “They hit the rice and open the, what the word?” “Shell?” I questioned. “Yes the outer shell, and inside is the rice”.  I watched as he demonstrates this with is beautiful brown hands. “Oh, I see!” I said with delight, for here in front of me, Berut had produced a piece of rice!
Yesterday during my travels, I did see a machine with a gasoline engine, similar to the shape of the grain thrashing machines of America, but much smaller, only shoulder height.
 After questioning Berut about the machine, I was assured that the machine was used to “get the rice”, after the entire field was cut by hand, in the 86 degree hot sun, I might add!
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image   My friend Berut Children playing Common Painitng
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Beauty

I am just fascinated by these little yellow flowers that fall willingly from the tree. I can be staring into space, and see one drop before me, soon the ground is littered with them. It is like Creator is saying to me, “I see you and I am with you.”  And my mind goes to thanks and gratefulness for the beauty all around me. I know that I could find this beauty in America, if I tried.  When I first arrived I noticed the little yellow flowers (a little smaller than your palm) adorning the sinks in the bathrooms, or on the inside edges of steps as I walked up the stairs to a shop or restaurant. It was a beautiful “welcome to Bali”. Where I am staying now, I have my own tree!  This is where I noticed where the flowers came from and how they are easily collected. Following tradition I have collected some to place on my bed, in my bathroom, and in my hair. There scent is amazing, full, sweet, graceful and strong.   Today, I captured a few of Bali flowers for you to enjoy. I hope you can feel their beauty, and then find your own beauty around you. Blessings!

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