Mapping Bali #15 : Rice Fields

Culture | Written By, Bruce Granquist | March 11th, 2017

In the middle of the field there is the sound of water everywhere, this is neither land nor water but a carefully constructed interface between the two. The first sign of an approaching rain storm is the surge of water through the canals, then overflowing them and flooding the fields. The next sign is a sudden cool breeze blowing through, this indicates that the rain will arrive quickly. The frogs celebrate this flash flood with waves of croaking lots of little snakes slither around. Dragonflies dart back and forth, safe for the moment from the groups of children who enjoy hunting them. After the rain has past, the children move stealthily through the fields with long slender sticks which have gobs of sticky material at their ends. If this material comes into contact with a speeding dragonfly it becomes a captive prize. It will be strung up with other victims and taken back to the kitchen to be fried as a snack.

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The unwanted guests are the birds that feast on the ripe grains of rice. All sorts of noisemaking devices have been fabricated to scare them away. These contraptions usually have a propeller that klack tin against tin all night and day (as long as the wind holds up). Sometimes this noise is not frightening enough to the birds, so small resting places are built in the fields for the youngest and oldest members of the family to lounge around and hurl verbal abuse at the flying thieves. Sometimes a string of cans full of small stones is shaken to produce a staccato gravelly sound. But by far the most impressive sound is produced by the old farmer and his bull whip. Despite his fragility, the farmer swings the whip over his head, slowly at first and then cracks it with a retort like a pistol shot. The birds all scatter dutifully before regrouping in another field nearby.

About Author :

Bruce Granquist

Padma
Aston Canggu
UWRF

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