Posted on May 19, 2010
The eyes of the man facing me opened wide, revealing a fathomless black depth ringed by his sparkling brown iris. The world around me was silent, as if the thirty men on the platform with me, the hundreds of spectators, and the carnival that filled the village of Tenganan had simply evaporated. I was alone suspended in the blackness. Time had taken a rest from its eternal and steady march forward, leaving me to drift free from the anchors of light and sound, suspended upon the delicate thread of now. With nowhere to go, nothing to see or hear, what had formerly been confined to "me" expanded to become "we", reveling in the glory of connection. And then with the sensation of falling up from the bottom of an inky black well, I crashed back onto the bamboo and rattan platform. My glasses were knocked from my face and the music of the carnival, the murmurs and shouts of the spectators, and the breathing and heartbeats of the men around me flowed back into the world; and I found myself beneath a large man clothed only in a loincloth wielding a shield and a spiked weapon.