Long for you, Lebaksiu

It is absolute, that Indonesia is such an exquisite archipelago blessed with countless of wonderful natural artistry. On one of its main island, Java, lies a silent beauty named Lebaksiu. Located in the province of Middle Java (Jawa Tengah), this sub-district is 7 km away from the center of government of Tegal district, Slawi. Situated at 150 meters above sea level, Lebaksiu is a lowland that holds an important role for transportation to and from Purwokerto. There is only one main road located here, and along side of it, lies the widespread of green that will soothe your eyes and obviously, your heart.

Two years ago, me and some of colleagues were stationed at local hospital, RSUD dr.Soeselo Slawi for ten weeks. The silence of Lebaksiu is a precious gift for me, for my soul, who grew up the capital city with the loudness and business that had infiltrated into my daily routine. Its unpolluted air and also the warm hospitality of the local people of Lebaksiu had allured me to enjoy my time of service and education as a young doctor here.

I always like to bike. For me, biking is not only a method of transportation or a regular event that we casually do. Not also a recreational activity nor a kind of sport. There is another essence of it which I find every time I strike the pedals and journeying in silence. There is another sensation that sometimes I feel like blending into the movement, as a part of it, as if I am in a bubble, timed-out, observing the rest of world, expanding new perspectives on life and how to live it. Similar to meditation. Yes, biking is always my kind of way to find myself, to look into my own heart and to find answers of questions, inside.

That day, me and my best friend who is also my colleague decided to bike around the hillside of Bukit Tanjung, located at Lebaksiu Kidul village not far from the place we were living. It was 5 in the morning. The limitless blue of the sky side by side with the humble green of the rice field dominated our visual. It was a breezy morning. I could hear some of natural acoustics in that silent morning which I rarely found back in my home. The sound of our pedals being stroked was the only thing accompanied us that morning on our way to greet the sun.

Yes, that morning, at Lebaksiu, we started our contemplative journey, with our bikes.

Sunrise at Lebaksiu

All of my senses were perceiving magnificent stimuli that day. The color blue faded slowly as it blended with the streaks of crimson red as the sun rising. The breathtaking panorama was not only captured by the lens of our cameras but also the lens of our very eyes. I inhaled the clean air of Lebaksiu deeply trying to find its scent. The humble green of rice fields started to cheer up. I could hear the sound of rustling leaves along the blowing wind. I could still remember the warmth I felt when sun kisses my skin, a morning kiss, for me and for all beings on earth as if it said “Good morning dear, let us start today with happiness…” And then I smiled. Yes. A smile. My response, to mother nature, a reaction to tell her that I got her message already. The message to start the day in renewed spirit. The message that no matter how many bad days I had been through, there is always a promise for a brighter new day.

We biked around the hillside of Lebaksiu, Bukit Tanjung, for two hours. The day had just begun. The farmers were now on their way to the field, carrying their tools and hoes. The mothers were starting to open their doors and windows to welcome the sun while they throw smiles at each other with simple “Hello” and “Good morning“. They were smiling. So do us. With smile on our face and in our heart, we headed home, an ending of our biking journey. The journey that turns everything back to ground zero again, the exact point of emotional balance which sometimes compromised in the name of our profession. New determination had spring inside and it had, even still is, vigorously pushing us, pushing me, to be a better person. A better human being. A better doctor.

I will never forget that morning. That contemplative journey which had injected a boost of spirit into my heart that drove me during my time of service there. Two hours biking in silence around the hillside, savoring each second of the journey to welcome the rising sun. The silent beauty that keeps calling me back. Lebaksiu will always be there, in living memory that I will always long for.

This is my “Hello, again” and “See you, soon” to you, Lebaksiu.

– i –
Memory of May, 2011
The photos uploaded are intellectual property of Ribeldi Bimantara.
The article itself is available in Bahasa Indonesia, as published in National Geographic Indonesia.

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