At the foot of Java’s highest mountain, Ranupane, 5 Oct 2013 [19.00]
It was already dark when we entered the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park area. The overlapping route that we were supposed to take from Malang was being repaired, so we had to take a detour via Lumajang.
It took us more than two hours to reach Ranupane – the last village that could be reached by four wheels before climbing the highest mountain on the island of Java, Semeru!
As usual, I saw several people with backpacks the size of a ‘refrigerator’ looking to rest waiting for the morning before going on their way.
As soon as I opened the car door, the mountain breeze was already piercing my skin. Not surprisingly, besides being right under the valley, Ranupane is at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level.
If it’s the dry season, don’t be surprised if you find ice grains in the morning!
We were greeted by someone who only wore a thin sarong – like the common perch – as a jacket to protect against the cold.
“Please come inside, sir,” he said with a smile.
This house has a living room that is quite spacious compared to the surrounding rooms. Twenty-four people in our group were able to enter it even though it was a bit crowded.
In the middle of the room there is a stove used for cooking and warming the body. In front of the stove, there are chairs that are arranged opposite each other like public transportation in the city. The ceiling above it was black because it was constantly being smoked by the stove.
“This is where the Tenggerese gather, seek warmth, discuss, and welcome guests,” said Lutfi, a resident of Tengger, who greeted us with a smile.
He invited us to sit on the pawon to enjoy the typical perch dish; white corn instead of rice, a piece of whole chicken, young cauliflower vegetables, and sambal plecing tengger. The sambal that tastes cold is almost gone because of the spiciness.
I am always impressed by the hospitality of the Tenggerese. Not this time I felt they really respect guests.
A year ago, when I had just come down from Mahameru – very weak and it was too late to catch the vegetable truck back to Tumpang – a Tenggerese asked me to stay at his house.
We were even served food, without having to pay a penny because at that time our money was only for the cost of going home.
Tengger, apart from being derived from the suffixes of its predecessors Roro An(teng) and Joko Se(ger), etymologically means without movement. In a sense that refers to virtuous behavior, simple and unpretentious, and do not want to mess around.
They just want to live in harmony with nature.
Tengger people always give the highest appreciation to nature. Their lives cannot be separated from the nature of the tengger mountains. They are aware that nature will suffice it – if they just act and are not greedy.
The harmony between the balance of nature and the simplicity of life makes the Tengger people the substance of their life.
That morning may not be able to escape from our memories. The cold was piercing, the fog rolled over the lake, as if to welcome us along with our adventurous friends who were sitting together looking for warmth from the frozen tents.
A moment later, the sun began to emerge from behind the hill. Radiating shards of life around the valley planted with fields of potatoes and cauliflower. Pink, like the cheeks of a beautiful girl who was blushing.
Photographers call it golden moments. If it’s like this, who says the fields only produce vegetables?
In the distance, Mount Semeru is still proudly looking at us who are no bigger than the rocks that he vomited. Semeru, the eternal pinnacle of the gods, is part of the life of the Tenggerese.
It gives life to every resident of the perch, but also as a reminder – that death can come at any time.
When will it rise again, here?
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