A Call from Nature

Muhammad Rifqi Fitrianto
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The wondrous view of a green hill highlighted under the sun, and the calming blue blanket spread towards the horizon that splits the boundary between earth and sky. For some people who were enchanted by nature, the view of nature itself would surely stunned them in awe. However this was not the case for me. I took everything from the nature for granted, and never once contemplated how it was so enchanting. I had never truly cared towards Mother Nature. However to say “never truly cared” might be an overstatement here. It didn’t mean that I didn’t care in a way like littering everywhere, picking or stomping over flowers, cutting trees, or polluting intentionally. I just basically ignoring nature, only considering it as something mundane and normal that I often ignored its aesthetics. Like nature was a neglected painting in the attic that was covered by a cloth. It was there, but I just didn’t think that it was worth my attention.

It was July, during the semester break. As I woke up, and had my breakfast, my aunt asked me if I wanted to come with her on a trip with my cousins. I was excited when my relatives took me to a trip, but I didn’t know specifically why. Maybe it was because I went with my relatives whom I could only meet once or twice in a year so that I wanted to spend my time while they were visiting me, or because I was just bored and if I stayed in my house, I would probably just doing nothing but “refreshing” myself from the stress of studying the fourth semester in university. Without a doubt, I agreed to join her. As I finished my breakfast and readied myself to go, I just remembered to ask my aunt where we would we go to. She told me that the destination would be Floating Market in Lembang. At first, I guessed that it would be somewhere in Bandung, like we usually did but it seemed I was wrong. I wondered what kind of place it would be as I never visited that place before. The only thing I know about that place was there was a lake or something similar and some shops near the lake.

When I thought of coming to a floating market, the first thing I could think of was the noise coming from the shopkeepers offering their stuffs and the customers bargaining with the shopkeepers, but now they did it above a canoe or boat. But when I arrived there, I thought to myself that it was more like a garden than a market. The first thing I saw when I crossed the main entrance of the Floating Market was the lake and some fountains near the lakeside. The air was fresh and it was not crowded like I expected from a market. It was truly like walking in a park, green grass alongside a pathway, and the beautiful view of the lake. Not to mention the fresh and cool air it gave makes walking here relaxing to me. The lake view was immediately used by my aunt to take a group photo. I could understand why she wanted to take a photo near the lake, as it is an uncommon experience to have photo near a lake. Although it might be common for people who lived near a lake or a regular to the Floating Market. But for people who lived in the city or the suburbs like me, who could only see cars or apartment buildings, having a trip to the nature was a rare experience.

As I walked along the pathway, and admiring the lake from the side, my cousins wanted to go canoeing in the lake. At first I backed off because I didn’t want my clothes to get wet if I happened to fall into the lake, but I finally accepted because the number of people required was not enough. It was the first time I rowed a boat, but one way or another after trying a few rows, I figured how to row a boat. However what took my attention was not the canoeing itself, but the atmosphere when I did it. It was calming. The only sound I could hear was the song from the speaker on another side of the lake and the water, either the sizzling sound from the fountain or the splash from the oars. Sometimes I just stopped rowing and just sit on my boat to listen to those sounds. For me those sounds especially the water made me calm and relaxed. Also, from the lake I could see almost the whole of Floating Market, the Japanese theme attraction, the cafeteria, even the Rainbow Garden. The Rainbow Garden especially was enchanting to my eyes. However, I could not enjoy the view forever as the boat had its rental time and it was almost time to return the boat.

The sun reached its peak as well as the temperature. The Floating Market had turned like a steam from a boiler. The heat of July mixed together with the sprinkles from the fountain, hot but a bit humid and wet. After I finished with the boat, my relatives and I went to the cafeteria, or should I say the “market”. The market was like a ball pit but change the balls with people. You could easily bump to other people and the only space you might have for yourself was around an arm length. The stalls were placed either on the boat, or just a bit on a platform. If you had seen how people play in a casino before, you might be okay buying foods and drinks here. If you never saw one, you will learn it here in the Floating Market. Trade your money with tokens or chips, buy food with those chips, and there you have your food. It was so similar with playing in a casino, the difference was you would get food or drinks instead of money.

As I finished eating my lunch with my relatives, my aunt told me that we were going to visit the main reason we went to the Floating Market. I wondered what would that be, and apparently there was a true intention for why we were coming here. Wondering would take me nowhere, so I asked my aunt what the peak of the trip was. She said to me that it was the Rainbow Garden. The colorful hill that I saw earlier was apparently our main “attraction”. Thus after we finished our lunch, we went directly to the Rainbow Garden. As soon as I crossed the entrance to Rainbow Garden, I felt that the atmosphere there was different from the lake. The fragrance from the flower went into my nose, and the myriad colors that I saw earlier now filled my line of sight. Various kinds of flowers are arranged neatly as it was greeting everyone who came to the Rainbow Garden. It appeared that not only that it greeted its guests, but also attracted them to come closer to the flowers. I was also one of the one who attracted to the flowers’ alluring color and looks. While my relatives were taking photos, I was the only one who enjoying myself with the flowers. Many things came to my mind as I was examining the flowers, such as how roses had many different colors although came from the same kind. The flowers triggered my curiosity.

As I continued to examine the flowers, I started to contemplate myself about why I had never noticed small things like flowers. I do see flowers from time to time, but for unknown reason, when I saw the flowers here in the Rainbow Garden they were interesting. Perhaps because it was arranged with the other flowers so it became more attracting. I ended up wandering alone and admiring every kind of flowers there. But as I noticed that my relatives were heading out from the Rainbow Garden, I finally came back to reality. With crossing the main entrance of the Floating Market, it marked the end of my trip there and my little contemplation world of Rainbow Garden.

My trip to the Floating Market might have started a bit plain although along the trip I could relax from time to time because of the ambience such as the water and the view of the lake. However, not only it was a refreshing trip, it was also a contemplative one. My time in Rainbow Garden made me realize the aesthetics of Mother Nature could come even from a little thing such as flowers. It made me thought about how much did I missed just by overlooking the simplest thing. As I went home, I started to appreciate nature and everything more even it was just a small object, because starting to notice the small things, I thought, could help me understand the bigger ones.

Photo by Muhammad Rifqi Fitrianto

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