Thursday, January 21, 2010

22 / A Recognition

In Bali, every morning, residents and shopkeepers prepare an offering or "blessing" that they place on the sidewalk outside their house or business establishment. One must be careful, as he or she walks the extremely narrow and traffic-congested streets, not to disturb these sidewalk shrines.

I don't, in fact, really understand the cultural significance of this practice. I don't know, in other words, what meaning the Balinese themselves ascribe to this ritual that they so faithfully perform.

For me, it seems clear that this practice reflects a daily recognition of our dependence on the natural world that ultimately sustains our life, and that is celebrated here by bringing small bits of natural beauty to the harsh environment of the city streets.

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