A Balinese farmer carries his crop in a bamboo basket. The irrigation and planting schedule for rice is arranged through “subak”, a communal system tied in to local temples that dates to the 11th century, yet produces the highest rice yields in Indonesia.
Bali – Been there

Bali’s lessons in mindfulness

Photo by Martin Harvey

Bali – Been there Bali’s lessons in mindfulness

Jackfruit, papaya, breadfruit and mango trees are exploding around us with a greenness only possible in Bali. Coconut palms and aloe vera plants compete for attention. We taste, smell, crush leaves and skull coconuts full of sweet nectar as we go, while herbalist Westi explains us the virtues of each plant.

Maria Visconti
Maria Visconti

Westi and his wife Ni Wayan Lilir, both nearing 40 years old, come from a long line of farmer-healers. They work hard to preserve Bali’s traditional healing arts and medicines as well as guiding these herbal walks. “For generations, healers and herbalists passed on their skills by word of mouth to their children and a few students,” they say.

“But now few young people are interested in mastering this traditional wisdom. We study with three traditional healers, who are very old, and there’s a danger all of their wisdom will die with them. This understanding of traditional plants and their uses is dying out as quickly as the plants themselves are vanishing before the developers on Bali.”

Life in Bali is a binary experience. If a farmer feels out of sorts, he can climb up, admire a strategically placed tree grouping in the distance and watch the butterflies land while his soul is refreshed. “We Balinese believe that the world does not exist only for humans but is also occupied by many other beings, seen and unseen, both good and evil,” says Westi. “Great care is needed to keep everything in balance and harmony.”

Take me there!

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Kebun Villas in Blimbing is one of the many boutique retreats that are found throughout Bali. The resort sits on the slopes of Mount Batukaru amid gardens and paddy fields. Rice is the staple of Bali and its rice terraces go back over 2,000 years when farmers with basic hand tools carved them out of the steep hillsides. They are preserved by community action that regulates irrigation fairly and helps ensure three crops a year. Photo by Frans Lemmens

Frans Lemmens

Frans Lemmens

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Aperture
ƒ/4
Exposure
1/160
ISO
100
Focal
90 mm

Kebun Villas in Blimbing is one of the many boutique retreats that are found throughout Bali. The resort sits on the slopes of Mount Batukaru amid gardens and paddy fields. Rice is the staple of Bali and its rice terraces go back over 2,000 years when farmers with basic hand tools carved them out of the steep hillsides. They are preserved by community action that regulates irrigation fairly and helps ensure three crops a year.

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