It was my second day in Bali and I was eating breakfast with my host, Wayan. I’d arrived the previous night at dusk, and in the morning light of a dawning day I saw new faces walking about the home.
The fantastical fruit pictured above is rambutan, but in Bali I was introduced to it as simply: hairy fruit; in Indonesian, the word rambut translates literally to “hair”. These beautiful, odd creatures grew in quantity at my first homestay in the Balinese village of Bresela. Digging a nail into the soft exterior and pulling out the interior reveals a fruit similar in appearance and taste to lychee: soft, gelatinous, sweet, delectable. For the three days I spent in Bresela, I ate rambutan twice daily, pulled fresh from the tree.
With each temporary departure from a culture of media — one of timeliness and overtime, of texting and collective avoidance of face-to-face communication— and with each subsequent return, I taunt the imprisoned spirit we’ve each caged, one handed down in blood since time immemorial. With each journey: a bloom of color flourishing amidst nature, primal living, and daily reflection. With each journey’s end: a doused flame, the resuming decay of childlike wonder. And as the cycle begins anew, an ever-stronger call to return, lest our spirits wither.