The Future of Airline Travel

I’ve done pretty well so far, staying in the present, managing thoughts, focusing on what I can control. Then I read an article in Forbes about the future of airline travel. It was too real. My mood plummeted and I did nothing to stop it.

AirAsia new uniforms

Ketut’s message came just as I was about to slit my wrists.

Saya sudah mulai menanam.

I grabbed my flip-flops, and ran. For the next hour I didn’t think about immunity passports, disinfection tunnels, sanitation fogging, on-the-spot blood tests, thermal scanning, or four-hour check-ins.

I just watched Ketut plant the garden.

My relatives farmed. Uncle Olaf was a commercial potato grower. Uncle Daniel had acres of greenhouses. Uncle Nils earned his PhD in horticulture. Uncle John raised beef cattle. Dad grew apples, raspberries, fields of alfalfa, and kept bees. We always had sweetclover honey. So, you see, I’ve witnessed a few gardens in my time. They were things of orderly beauty: straight rows, weeded, mulched, tended with care.

Perhaps in my mind I’d envisioned something similar for my backyard Bali project.

When I burst through the door, there was Ketut, hacking a trench in the sun-baked earth.

“You already started, Ketut.”

He stood and pointed out cabbage and tomato seedlings. Their tender green leaves peeked bravely through the clumpy dirt. “Thirty tomatoes, ten cabbages…no…eleven…they gave extra.”

“What’s this one?”

“Petsai. You know petsai?”

“Yes, Napa cabbage. I love it.”

He resumed chopping the earth and I studied the mounds of plants awaiting his attention. Among them was a pile of short sticks sharpened at one end. I picked one up. “Ketut, what are these for?”

“That’s cassava. Tree grows two meters. Very tall. Roots are good for eating – strong flavor.”

“You’re telling me you plant these sticks and a cassava tree grows?”

“Ya.”

Once upon I time I would have argued that you can’t just pop a stick in the soil and grow a tree. That was Minnesota Sherry. I know better now.

A few minutes later he called my attention to a droopy bush he’d just planted. “This one’s bayam,” he said.

“Spinach. I love spinach but it looks a little sick.”

“Jetlag,” he laughed. “Stress.”

Hilarious. Where does he come up with his off-the-cuff humor? On second thought, I guess that one’s obvious. Ketut’s been at the airport to meet me after every, grueling, thirty-plus-hour return trip from the States. He knows the jetlagged look well. But I don’t want to be reminded about air travel, past or future. Definitely not future.

We chatted about this and that as he worked. I marveled at his matter-of-fact confidence, his economy of motion, always moving but never in a hurry. I’d have studied, measured, plotted, planned. It would have taken days. Ketut, the garden guru, laughed and joked while weaving his magic.

Besides cabbages, tomatoes, cassava, and spinach, we have onions, ginger, lemongrass, turmeric, and galangal. The garden already boasted a lemon tree, key lime and chili bushes, and a cluster of banana trees. If the carrot, cucumber, and watermelon seeds Ketut planted in an old egg carton germinate, there’ll be even more abundance.

It took an hour, including hosing down the whole shebang to give it a nice soak, and it was done. I thanked Ketut, bid him good evening, and went back to my quarters.

What a difference. All gloom was gone. Garden time soothes and nobody can stay morose for long around Ketut’s happy energy. The future will be what the future will be and no doubt it will have juicy red tomatoes in it. In this uncertain world, I’m almost certain of that.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sageblessings
    May 12, 2020 @ 22:37:17

    So much yummiest will be yours. Ketut has been and will always be your most wonderful treasure.

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  2. Diane Struble
    May 13, 2020 @ 01:07:33

    It would have taken me a couple of weeks to plant all that he did…..which is one reason I do not do it.  We all love Ketut and your Balinese family for their good natures, their many skills, and their cheerful energy.

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      May 13, 2020 @ 06:50:14

      I’ve never met anyone so permanently cheerful who simply cannot put a negative spin on anything. He acknowledges ‘dark spirits’ and makes the appropriate offerings to appease them, but tells me they are necessary for balance. I could write an encyclopedia of Ketut-isms and the world would need nothing else to function harmoniously!

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  3. stevecastley
    May 13, 2020 @ 04:26:43

    Time with Ketut is definitely the cure for feeling low. When are you buying a cow? Self sufficiency is near. Loved reading this. Reminded me of ‘The Good Life.’ Hugs. Steve.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. writingforselfdiscovery
    May 13, 2020 @ 06:56:36

    I’m thinking chickens, Steve. Not enough grass for a cow in my garden. And I don’t ‘do’ lactose you know. But eggs? Now we’re talking! By the way…do chickens eat monkeys?

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  5. stevecastley
    May 13, 2020 @ 07:38:29

    Did you google ‘The Good Life’? Worth watching with a glass of wine or two. Great laughs and British humour.

    Liked by 1 person

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