When Baba was a boy, he used to chase kites with his brothers and buddies in Djatibarang, a nearly-remote village in the center of Central Java. One day, their kite chasing was cut short by a group of people looking upwards, to the purplish-orange evening sky.
Have you noticed how, when you see people looking to some direction, you'd involuntarily look in their direction too? Mass media in its simplest forms, I tell ya!
As they looked up, at the height of a full-grown coconut tree, a Gestaltian process of giving comprehension to the senses slowly gathered and formed this collective memory to all who looked at the stunning view of the long figure, with the majestic strength, glimmering in red from the aging daylight.
They were graced with the magnificent and indeed rare sight of an Asian Dragon.
Back in the days, when nature was true and undisturbed, man muddied their feet for food, dug the ground for water, bathed in the rivers, and breathed from mountains and seas. Back in the days, when the human body and spirit were integral parts of nature and balance was maintained in reverence to all of its elements, the dragons and dwarves and demi-demons peregrinated the lands and skies and caves and waters, visible and audible and touchable even to the common child that my father was.
I often look up to the very skies that my father looked up to as a child and I wonder where the dragons have went, if not deeper into a child's imagination or drug induced hallucinations. I wonder if, in my lifetime, I could touch the edges of purity, in body and mind and surrounding, that would grant me the glimpse of a true dragon, just like the one that my father and his village-kin fleetingly witnessed hovering that evening, years ago.
I gather these story crumbs trying to piece together my own Gestaltian memory of a dragonless life that is (at least) less ordinary, less disappointing, than the way I have always perceived it.
It's not the dragons that is worth seeing or writing about, it's their magic and wisdom and benevolence that is worth working on in each of us. Whether or not dragons are real, whether or not god or demons or faeries exist, it's the ideas that we caress and coddle and nurture that will eventually shape the roads we walk on.
I wish us well.