The Mighty Jungle Meets Ketut!

This afternoon I took a break from writing, wandered to the railing overlooking the garden, and there were Ketut and Wayan, hard at work, beating back the jungle. It’s a thankless chore, like doing laundry or washing dishes, tasks that every homemaker knows must be tended to on a regular basis or they soon get out of hand. It’s not at all like weeding a Minnesota garden a couple of times over the course of three months, which is the sum and total of the growing season there.

No, the jungle is aggressive. If it weren’t tamed, it would soon take over everything, vines snarling around pillars, curling over walls and doorways, snaking through open windows. So the garden Ketut planted that looked so feeble at it’s inception, has morphed into a domesticated jungle that requires daily attention.

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Last October, Ketut planted every stick that is now a tree and every blade of grass that is now a thick carpet.

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This is the same corner that Ketut was planting in the previous picture.

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Wayan is carrying two hacked leaves from a banana tree that was encroaching!

Besides being a superb gardener, Ketut is half monkey. If there’s an offending branch or frond that’s too high off the ground to snag with the long knife-stick, he’s up the trunk in a flash, making quick work of the unfortunate interloper.

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This is NOT a tree-hugger pose! He has his long knife-stick in his right hand and is hanging on for dear life with his left!

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With focused intensity he’s going after a cluster of bananas that fell prey to one of the raggy squirrels that love to eat the stem of the flower which pretty much ensures that the bunch dies or its growth is stunted.

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Hmmm…I wonder if I can reach that dried  palm leaf waaaay up there….!

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Wayan looks on as Ketut hacks.

And you may as well get used to hearing about Wayan. Wayan Puji is Ketut’s cousin from the same village of Abang Songan, and he’s now a permanent fixture here. (I’m high maintenance…it takes two!)

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Wayan Puji

Ketut’s hobby is gardening, and Wayan’s hobby is cleaning! At least that’s what Ketut says, and I believe him. My windows have been washed, inside and out, three times in two weeks. My floor is swept every day and scrubbed every other day. And both guys like to cook so I’ve had to cut out rice and noodles to ward off the creeping poundage! It’s a lovely problem to have.

How do I describe a life that’s so unlike anyone’s frame of reference unless they’ve lived here? I write these blogs but they’re just words and snapshots of an existence that defies explanation. And yet I persist, hoping that something gets through, some part of the magic, the wonderment, injects itself into the reader with the kind of awe I feel every single day. Toward that end I write, and write, and write!

 

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lottie Nevin
    Jul 22, 2015 @ 11:08:40

    Ketut and Wayan don’t fancy a trip over here do they? I could kill for that sort of help these days! my floors are filthy, the house needs dusting and it seems like a never-ending thankless task when I do get round to it. I do love cooking though!
    I can’t believe the transformation in your garden! WOW-EEEE it looks terrific, Sherry. xxx

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  2. karin grouf
    Jul 22, 2015 @ 15:44:51

    I SO REMEMBER THE TIME SPENT THERE AND I’M HAPPY YOU FOUND NIRVANA. EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE A SLICE OF THAT LIFE. I HAVE IT INSIDE AND AM HAPPY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD.

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 22, 2015 @ 21:23:18

      I remember your paints melting as you tried to capture the landscapes in the heat of March…or was it April?! Right now would be a much better time to work your magic since it’s much much cooler and less humid June – August.

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  3. gerard oosterman
    Jul 22, 2015 @ 21:05:40

    A great story and pictures. I wish the gardens here were as lush as in Bali. Still dreaming of Bali and wishing it will come about. Grandsons and medical appointments seem to dominate. Still, they grow up and will fly away eventually.
    Ketut and Wayan have the agility to still climb into almost anything. I did too, some years ago. We all did.

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  4. Susan Wiste
    Aug 02, 2015 @ 21:14:21

    You have wonderful karma!

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  5. Leigh
    Mar 25, 2017 @ 00:58:27

    Just trying 65 I realize, after reading your wonderful post, that I have found my narvana. It’s not Bali, but I sure enjoy my life!

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