Yoga and the Invasion of the Semut

I wake up invigorated. The yoga platform is calling me. As the rising sun’s rays sift through banana leaves I do my 24 sun salutations, 12 on each side. Then tree pose, I move slowly from tree into king dancer without putting my foot on the ground, then stork. (Do you know stork? I made it up!) I complete my regular 40 minute routine, meditate staring into the flashing iridescence of a crystal, give thanks, receive blessings, and feel fabulous. Today is Kuningan, the ceremonial last day of the Hindu celebrations honoring the ancestors. The air is supercharged, sweet with incense and the prayers of the devout.

I gather up my mat and step…oops! What the…? Instead of stepping, I leap off the last stair over a swarming mass. There is a black line stretching from the front door to the back yard, but it seems to have a roundabout right under that step. Mass congestion…traffic jam! It appears that I have been invaded by semut…ants to us in the west. This is unacceptable. My adrenalin spikes. I grab the bamboo straw broom and haul away, brushing furiously to and fro.

My sweeping is utterly ineffective. No sooner are the persistent critters ousted, then 2000 more take their place. There was a storm the other night, a really big storm. I think these semut are homeless. I know Ibu has a can of HIT with pictures of vile insects that it promises to eradicate. I’m desperate. She’s moved it from its usual hiding place. I run to the storage area in the back of the house and, sure enough! Sneaky Ibu! I grab the spray and race back. I’ve been gone just long enough for the entire line to reassemble, as though nothing had happened at all.

When Ibu came later with offerings for Kuningan, I was the picture of contented peace. The deadly HIT can was back in its hiding place. (I don’t think she wants me to know she uses the vicious stuff!) And the bodies had been ceremoniously trashed. She decorated the house with beautiful dream-catcher like weavings, piles and piles of fruit offerings, and her secret incense that smells like cloves.

The house altar decorated for Kuningan

The house altar decorated for Kuningan

Then we sat staring at the garden, talking about the price of onions, and eating tape (tah-pay), the fermented rice dish, slightly alcoholic, that she always makes for this day.

The front terrace

We sat on the bench on the front terrace

My yard in the jungle

Staring at the jungle that Ibu chops back to keep from losing the yard

My front door decorated for Kuningan

Ibu’s beautiful dreamcatchers decorate the front door for Kuningan

Through this doorway is a perfect view of the semut trail. See the bottom step leading up to the platform? Yup! The roundabout is right under it. Who knew? But no more…at least not until time and traffic wear away the toxic remedy. I feel like such a traitor! But there are no organic solutions in rural Ubud. I’ve seen a few measly semut carry off an entire gecko and I have no doubt that 2000 of them could make short work of my carcass. So there’s no cohabitating with with the little buggers. Its them or me, and as long as I can find Ibu’s stash, I have the advantage.

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joy
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 06:03:40

    This made me laugh!!!! Love you mom!

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  2. Sharon
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 07:39:56

    Swarming black line…I was so afraid it was something else. Ants are almost a relief. Good job!

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  3. Barb Garland
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 10:31:18

    what a lovely home, smut and all

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  4. gigicullins
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 13:02:56

    You made me laugh too, Sherry! I can just see you dashing about, killing the ants and sweeping them away…then looking all serene when Ibu shows up. I can see you are truly enjoying every minute there! You know how visual I am…you gave me this vision of a million tiny ants under your carcass floating you away. I am glad you are so vigilant so that can’t happen! LOL

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  5. Lottie Nevin
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 16:23:15

    We had an entire wall of the kitchen blackened out with ants last year – I have never seen so many! It must be something about this time of year because it was around Kuningan. I hate that spray too but sometimes it’s the only remedy, especially when the ant army decides to go on a march right across the middle of the kitchen floor!

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  6. Diane Struble
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 04:56:16

    It would be best to tell her.

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  7. Diane Struble
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 04:58:01

    Oh, and I love her decorations. Just lovely. When does she have time to do all this creative work?

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  8. ancha137
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 08:08:46

    Hi Sherry! Love to read your blog. Get excited every time it shows up in my inbox. By the way I am a friend of Jessa, fom yoga study. We met a couple of times when Jessa had yoga in your living room. Long time a go now.
    I get inspired by the blog and it feels like a lot of freedom and pure joy. I have traveled in Indonesia for a month with my family and we really loved Ubud. Stayed at an outdoor art gallery, so cool. Me & my husbands goal is to move to Asia when the kids are in college and have a yoga/hike reatret place for people to come and stay at. So by reading your blog I get reminded that it is possible. Thank you for all your words and for letting us get a peak in to your life. Sincerely Ancha

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