Monument to Nature

A picture with words this time.


Tuesday, 26 October. Pak Sugeng’s birthday, announces an old notebook with yellowed corners, left on a fragile wooden desk. But no birth day ever followed. Instead, a melted wall clock shows frozen time. It is dusk, it says, for ever.

The dinner table has stayed static for weeks. A mincer tethered to the table edge chopped its last fesh and the broth from the bowl evaporated long past, leaving behind some solitary crumpled peas. A distorted spoon still waits to be picked up by the family child and the dust to be swiped of from his favourite cup. In the midst of the derelict dinner scene, the Holy Bible is calling for the closing prayer.

But there is no family and no food. There is no movement and no prayers. There is just ash. The bowls without the broth, the deformed spoon, the seized meat grinder, the dried out peas, the cupboard for dishes and the sink in the corner, the chairs and the pillows on couches, the crystal vase and the dead fowers inside it, the lamps and the radio, the grandmother’s hanging dress and the kid’s teddy bear – it is all covered by a layer of grey ruthless ash that has muted the vibrant animated house into a lifeless monument to nature. Cold. Still. And numb. To remind us his lordship.

Someone used to call it a home. A collapsed grid of an old gable roof and dropping concrete from the only upright wall was once a solid house that served to protect a family from its surroundings. It was the sphere of the private, the intimate, the unseen for the foreign eye that now undresses itself so disgracefully and melts into one with the cruel outer world.

No more boarders. The dead foliage of trees allows the sight to travel for miles. Sad emptiness looms around the dining room and uncovers a post-apocalyptic moonscape where there once used to be a lush forest. A disrobed village now opens its intimate side for observers and looks vulnerable without its everyday masks.

Merely one green child of a leaf sprouts out from the river of cinders and paints the sole colour to this desaturated picture. A wind whirls up to cut the still silence and the clouds move apart until the god shows its visage. An old volcano looks upon the village that now stands naked in front of it. It is only him, who decides the boarders of birth and demise.