Indonesia: The Tower

Diary entry from Sunday 17th July 11:

Woke up at 04:20 to go to the tower with Cynthia and Eric. My headtorch was very faint so I was really unsure of my steps in the forest- fell off the railway planks once: acquired a new bruise. Squelched in the mud for a bit to get to the tower- Cynthia was in front of me and fell into all these holes so I didn't have to.

Eric climbed the tower first, then Cynthia and I was last. In a moment, my heart started  beating very fast and I felt my arms and legs weak and wobbly. From the sudden adrenaline rush I realised I must be scared of heights and how high I had to climb on that slippery red ladder. 

The tower is 45 meters tall and there are several different levels with a small platform so I could take a breath at each level before climbing to the next one. Climbing was a bit tiring for the arms and as I was clenching my muscles out of fear on the way up they were very tense and painful by the time I got to the top. I had to sit on the top for a while, my trousers wet and muddy, my hands muddy from holding onto where the others had stepped before me. I took a breath and stood up: the forest stretching under my feet.

It was still dark and foggy and the tops of the trees were floating over a sea of mist.I don't think I can describe the view well enough with words. It was just so still and peaceful and calming and it was as if time had stopped and there we where in suspended animation, stuck between prehistory and the future, on this tower full of atmospheric carbon monitoring equipment looking at our distant past- staring into our dreams- the ones we had when we were 5 where we were flying above the treetops and we knew everything and then somehow woke up to be 20 and forgot all about them but still had a vague and strange feeling that our real life maybe hasn't started or that we had another life altogether and now we were someone else. 

The sun started to rise making the mist look more dense and impenetrable before dissolving, and the sounds started changing. 

We spotted two kelasi sitting on a tree far away: kings of the lost world.

Some malcoas flew by and sat on a tree, feeding.

The sound of a distant hornbill screeching.

Cynthia and I talked a lot, climbed down two levels to a different perspective and talked a bit more. I took pictures of the spider webs overlooking the forest and I kind of wished I was a spider or a spider's web on that tower overlooking the forest and jeweled with dew and riding the breeze till the end of my days.

Went down a level and sat with Eric for a while. We were now at canopy height and i felt truly immersed in the whole experience. I thought this might be what it feels like to be an orangutan looking out over the canopy from within the branches and foliage of a tree. Looking at the world not from above but from within helped my thoughts settle down to a less abstract form. Moving from the top to the middle of the tower marked a shift in conversation from an ideological and slightly spiritual one to a more pragmatic one about conservation and the current unsustainable economic system. 

We saw some birds, which I have to remember to ask Nick about. Headed home as it was getting late. 


  1. "ο λείος πάγος
    ένας παράδεισος
    για αυτούς
    που ξέρουν να χορεύουν"
    Fr. Nietzche


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