After a lazy day at home Daniel and I decided to take a walk through our neighborhood just as the sun was setting. Pale blues and faded yellows painted the sky behind a mix of light and dark clouds as we walked down narrow lanes though the rice paddies. The familiar path seemed endless. For as far as the eye can reach, acres of green fields laid still amongst the roads of Sayan. Save for a few workers finishing up the day, there appeared to be little movement. But on closer inspection, we found the many creatures of the paddies, flittering and fluttering around like kids on a playground.
It’s hard to believe that all of this beauty lies only a few minutes outside the bustling city of Ubud. They call Ubud the cultural epicenter of the Island of Bali, and it is. There are wood-carving shops, art galleries and book stores lining every street, and you can see a traditional Balinese dance show any night of the week. It’s a charming town full of warm people, delicious restaurants and plenty of places to shop and sleep. But staying in the city robs you of the true beauty that is central Bali. If you take that short motorbike ride up to the towns just outside, there is more to see than any art gallery could ever provide.
As twilight fell, Daniel and I hopped over grass and stepped aside for passing bicyclists as we strolled through the fields. The rice paddies have changed a lot since we arrived in Sayan just over two weeks ago. When we first moved in, the paddies were barren and muddy. Over the next few days, workers cultivated the land, readying it for a new crops to be planted. In just a few weeks, new colors of the land have emerged. As we walk, bright green leaves sprout from the ground amid fields of water, looking almost as if they’re floating. Daniel and I watch as curious little bugs hop across the reflection of the clouds on the water. When we look up, swarms of small, black birds that could be mistaken for bats fly every which way, trying their best to avoid our heads. In an instant, two white herons fly by and are lost in a tree before we know it. Crickets chirp and the familiar sounds of roosters crowing filled our ears, per usual. We’re used to the roosters by now, and we’ve come to learn that it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, they’re always crowing.
What seems tranquil from afar is really a vibrant and lively place for the many inhabitants of the paddies. Yet amongst all of the sounds and movement, there is an overwhelming peacefulness. One that I’m certain is only found in Sayan.