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Greetings from Nagasaribu

I’ve jumped into many bodies of water. I recall Percy Priest Lake’s thirty-foot cliffs from which I escaped the smothering Nashvillian summer heat. Remembering Cumberland Plateau’s Fiery Gizzard trail, I lose count of the times I’ve stolen away to Sycamore Falls. Even while traveling this summer, I plunged into the crisp Bavarian waters of Neuschwanstein’s Alpsee to the puzzled delight of tourists and locals alike. I love to make the jump because it’s a personal reminder that I am alive. So, it may come as no surprise that I was stoked at the news of the cohort’s detour to the Blue Lagoon in Sleman, Yogyakarta.

We had been biking for two days across Javanese countryside. Necks and arms ripe under the equatorial sun, we were in desperate need of cooling off. Anticipation mounted, and my expectations–custom fit off the coattails of my past experiences–soon followed. Images of a hideaway jungle oasis flirted with the promise of relaxation and rejuvenation. Simply put, I was in dreamland.

The sky, however, had grown cross upon our arrival, bringing with it a light breeze. The Blue Lagoon itself was a tidy little pool at the base of a small dam from which a stream flowed. As for the water, “blue” was generous, for the earthen bowl that held the pool had muddied it. I did not see before me the pretty picture I had imagined. Nevertheless, I put aside my disappointment and hopped in. I quickly found that I was cold and not of the refreshing sense. In an effort to be culturally sensitive–or at the very least in solidarity with the girls–I wore a rash guard. The breeze took advantage of that fact (wet shirts are the worst!), and I clambered out of the water to dry off. Of course I had left my towel in the van. And then Oscar stepped on bamboo.

Shivering, I felt my disappointment making a rebound. But this yak is not about a hissy fit; rather, it stands as a reminder. I mentioned in my introductory yak the idea of being open to outcome–more affectionately “BOTO”–as a lifestyle of graciousness. I had declared to the Dragons community that I wanted to enter Indonesia not with expectation but with an open mind. How noble! And yet it took only five days to prove me a hypocrite.

The victory in this story came with my revelation. Perched atop the dam, I looked down on the brownish lagoon, and I caught myself in my disappointment. Breathing in, I re-evaluated my circumstances. I recognized the beauty in design of neighboring rice paddies and their accompanying hand-crafted irrigation systems. I studied the ceiling of unfamiliar and vibrant trees reflected in the water. Observing the leaping locals and their gleeful screams, I too began to cultivate joy.

I shared this progression of thought with the cohort during the following morning’s edition of Rose-Bud-Thorn, discussing how it captured each of the game’s three components. Hesitation followed by recognition and reassertion. And as I’m writing now, I’m ready to grow young again. I want to return to youthful wonder and open mindedness.

To come full circle, I’ll briefly mention the cohort’s excursion to Lake Toba on Saturday. The sky was again overcast, but I found this time that the weather did not dampen my enthusiasm. To Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” we boys in “BOYS VAN!” hoped for sunshine but were prepared for rain. Magically, Mr. Blue Sky was waiting for us as we pulled up to the lakefront. I jumped in.