There are many places on this small Island where life is simple, meaning that less really is more. Where not much dictates making use of everything. Where being creative and inventive in the face of scarcity simply means survival.
These are villages where birth life and death follow an accepted cycle, where daily rhythms remain unchanged and where seasonal adaptation is approached and faced as an opportunity for planting sowing and reaping.
They are locations that still attempt to follow generational family and cultural traditions while dealing with encroaching modernity and an avalanche of convenience wrapped in tons of plastic.
Banjar’s where each family cohabits with on average 3-5 dogs, mostly the islands first original dog, but with a growing number of foreign breed dogs. Where most dogs still roam free, free from confinement and wanton intimidation. Where the condition of humans and dogs mirror each other. Where nature sorts weak from strong, letting the outcome be what is, dictated by balance and natural selection.
These are areas not that far in distance from the climatic and consumerism hot zones of down South, but they are light years away from the bloated lifestyles associated with wealth and want. These areas located North, West and East probably number in the thousands with probably tens of thousands of mainly lokal dogs.
‘Old Bali’ still exists. Locations where life is certainly not perfect not affluent or generally healthy. Where for now they possess an uncomplicated simplicity representing how it was.
Pressure on these places will of course continue to grow, progress dictated by human desire. But for now, away from a future inevitability, dogs’ people and community continue to need and tolerate each other’s shortcomings.
For now, as old traditions battle new temptations and where human desire greed and want are breaking through, the only thing keeping it all at bay, checked and tenuously balanced is a greater need to maintain a cultural philosophy. By actioning what has been handed down through endless generations these faraway communities are holding on to what old Bali once was. What still resonates in the memory of so many.
Indigenous societies are evaporating rapidly worldwide, Balinese culture is nowhere near immune, no matter how strong it appears.
Balinese dogs are a simple part in the complexity of Balinese existence. They fit in the puzzle of daily life and their place physically and emotionally in the picture is best observed in places where ‘old Bali’ still is.
In places where simplicity just is.
Where just is, is everything.