As a global pandemic ravages the lives of billions and with no quick end in sight there is growing rage about the unfathomable instability it has brought.
Bali has been slammed back to a time that few remember. When life was ‘simpler slower less unpredictable.’ Given where the island was headed pre pandemic, gridlocked traffic, hedonistic tourist hordes and general degradation of life sustaining resources, there are many who would say that such a disruption is a good thing. But this time is most definitely not that time. For sure there are subsistence areas on Bali where supporting oneself and community at a minimal level is and has always been a reality. But for millions right here and right now that ‘lifestyle’ is not a choice, it’s the intolerable and only reality.
What does this brutal retraction mean for Bali dogs? The indigenous island canine is semi feral. Their connection to humans has always been symbiotic, a mutually beneficial relationship. This union isn’t even thought about, it just simply is and has always simply been. But like any simple relationship, complexity and harmonious balance is the daily background hard work that is the world of unseen. Bali and her people are most certainly not simple and their balance on the forces of unseen and unknown complexities are most painfully tested at this time.
What affects Bali people will undoubtedly influence Bali dogs. No matter how resourceful Bali dogs have proven to be, they are still reliant on a food source that accompanies community life. Scraps and ceremonial leftovers have sustained their survival. They are genetically designed to survive on very little. But the breakdown in balanced community existence resulting from the effect(s) this pandemic has and continues to inflict will push the canine/human relationship to places it has never been. The consequences will be unseen to most, they have much more to worry about than a lowly insignificant dog.
Bali dogs are unencumbered from the ‘seen’ burdens that weigh heavily upon their human companions. However, they are sentient beings with feelings emotions and memories and even though superficially it may appear that the quietening on their environment may be to their advantage the reality could be opposite and disturbing.
Everything about this time is unfamiliar and unknown and it can only be hoped that the ancient Bali people Bali dog relationship can endure. Even if they don’t consciously know it, they are reliant on each other.
One without the other is not whole.