The Story of Enchanting Sunset and the Gratitude Implied
Girikarto, Panggang, Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Updated on 1/28/2016
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Unlike other white-sand beaches in Gunungkidul, Kesirat Beach captivates with its characteristic as a coral cliffs. No white sand or froths are to be seen along the shore of the beach. The sound of waves crashing against the corals is the only thing to expect here.
The sun had begun leaning to the west when YogYES walked through the cement path. After about half an hour in a bumpy ride on the vehicle that carried us, we finally arrived at our destination. From behind tall bushes, one of the hidden paradises revealed itself.
A stand-alone tree growing on the cliff edge appear outstanding and attracting. It might seem as if it were more interested of growing on the edge of the cliff instead of on the spread of sufficiently vast land of grass. "The everlasting tree" is the name the tree has been popular by among the tourists visiting Kesirat Beach.
Like a hidden paradise in Gunungkidul, Kesirat wasn't very crowded that afternoon. There were only few people who had arrived earlier than us and has set up tents to camp for the night, not so far from the everlasting tree, and several mid-age men fishing on the far South end of the cliff. The coastal line of Kesirat, falling directly to the offshore and with diverse species of fish, is what has made the beach popular among rock fishing hobbyists, even before the beach is known to tourists. There's a humble hut built on the south edge of the cliff-the best spot for fishing. If luck is on you, you can see the locals as they're fishing using a method called ngrendet-throwing net from one cliff to another.
Aside from being inhabited by small fishes, Kesirat Beach-one of the beaches within the region of Panggang-also often becomes a transit point for larger fishes. It is known that, according to fishers in Kesirat, whale sharks (Rhincodon typus), whales, or dolphins are often seen during their migration season. Peeking closer to the Marine Conservation Data Atlas made by the Directorate General PHKA of the Department of Transportation in 1984, the southern sea of Java is the migration track for Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis). On the other hand, the farther offshore water, the Indian Ocean, is the territory of Minke whale (B. acutorostrata) and sperm whale (Physeter catodon).
While being a hidden paradise as well as being popular among fishers, Kesirat is also a place considered sacred by the locals. One a year, the ritual of ngalap berkah or brubuh-brubuh (an offering of gratitude) is performed at Kesirat Beach. The tradition originates from Javanese local wisdom regarding environment conservation, i.e. by not cutting trees carelessly. It is only when paddy starts to turn yellow in color that the locals would cut down trees. Brubuh-brubuh, as an implied offering of gratitude in preserving the balance of the nature, continues to live until the present time.
Just as the locals perform the ritual of brubuh-brubuh once a year, the ritual for visitors of Kesirat Beach who can't enjoy spending time while waiting for fishes to catch our bait, like us, is to wait for the sunset. The beach cliff, facing west, is the perfect spot to witness as the sun goes back to its resting chamber, as if sinking into the ocean. Sunset at Kesirat Beach is even dramatic with the everlasting tree leaning to the direction of the sea, as if waving and bidding farewell to the sun. We sat motionless, hypnotized by the beauty of the color gradation from bright yellow shade to deep blue painted by God himself. The golden shade painted the west horizon and reflected on the water slowly faded away as night comes, leaving a silhouette of the everlasting tree, standing alone with no companion.
Text DIAN NORRAS Photography JAYA TRI HARTONO
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