Over time I have come to believe that the simpler life is a secret key to satisfaction of the right kind. We often feel overwhelmed with our lives, with our possessions and the responsibilities that accumulate as an aftereffect of these possessions and where do we run to? A beach, a forest, a long walk, or a meditation. They say hard work is the best remedy for an idle and restless mind, and maybe something in our design needs us to be busy and rewards us with happiness.
This beautiful girl was walking along the village road with a sack of small rocks on her head that she was taking home for a small building project. I followed her for a while till she caught on and turned around and gave me this dazzling smile followed by shy giggles. I was in the presence of pure and uncomplicated happiness.
There are times when the ideas and thoughts that sprout out of our fertile imagination appear to be out of this world to our reasoning mind. We tend to compare them to what has been done before or to what the current trend is and then hurry to dismiss them as a state of temporary madness. But what if new art can only arrive to us in a new never before seen form? What if it must look crazy for it to be real? What if it demand us to be brave enough to step into the realms of the unknown for it to show itself?
It seems so appropriate for the year to end and a new one to begin with a blanket of fresh snow, a clean slate, a new start. A stillness fell over the city today as more than half the population leaves for their homes away from Shanghai or to holiday destinations leaving a haunting sense of quiet and empty streets where normally life is buzzing noisily. Shanghai got its second day of snow today, it wore its beautiful white dress and it goes to sleep now getting ready for the big night tomorrow when fireworks will light the city streets.
Xin nian kuai le and Gong xi fa cai from Shanghai!!
It is the biggest question of all! Are we here only for this lifetime? Do we go on afterwards? Why can’t we remember where we came from? Does it make any sense for it to end here? What kind of a bad investment would that be?
The questions that haunt us all and the answers that we think we are so sure of, but are we? No one has been there and back yet, have they?
Traveling the world makes you less and less surprised by odd customs, but I was first surprised to see water sold in plastic bags in Congo, and again various drinks packaged the same way in Philippines. It seems very practical to drink from the bottom of a plastic bag and much easier for shopkeepers that don’t want to risk losing unreturned bottles 🙂
Doing a 365 photography project, you are bound to have a day spent in airports. These days we find ourselves in transit so often and our children become expert travelers at such a young age.
I still remember my first flight as a child (from Lebanon to Cyprus) and how totally exciting it was for me to get on that flying machine that was almost too magical to comprehend. I still remember so many little details and the flights after that were counted on a diary page proudly as a great achievement in the world of adventures and quests.
Not for my daughter, she flies too much to keep count of her journeys, too often for it to be super special, and too easily available for it to be an achievement. Another strange onset of the modern world we are creating!
In a magestic valley that crosses the mountain ranges of Northern Lebanon runs a river all the way to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is called among other names ‘the valley of the saints’, because nesting on its sides and in its caves are hundreds of tiny monasteries and churches, each with its own story to tell. I was on a hike in the valley when out of the lush trees near the river an old man appeared. He carried his bag of green beans and told me his little story. He walks every day for hours from his home in the mountain village to the depth of the valley to tend his little garden; he does not know his age, but he remembers that he was born around the time a wonderful political leader lived. He carried on and on about his first love, the woman who has haunted him all his life and was the reason he never married again. He was on his way to take the ‘loubieh’ (green beans) harvest to her. It is the least he could do he said, because it makes her happy. He has nothing else to offer her, and to his embarrassment not even a car, and that breaks his heart. But he still manages to give her his best, the fruit of his hard work, his wonderful home grown green beans!
In just a few hours, I will be heading to the airport for a flight to Urumqi, in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the largest province located in North Western China. It spans a very large area, 1.6 million square kilometer and is bordered by Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Lea knows that on each of these photography trips, I would be meeting a lot of street children and photographing them and she had the idea to help me package small shiny bags with little toys from her room and a few colored pencils to give to each child.
We had a very busy day preparing for this trip and I am so looking forward to delve into the unknown again. I will be gone until the 17th, but I might be able to still post daily as I find internet available.