We might declare our allegiance to a religion or to a non-religion, but either way, there will be moments in our lives when we just feel the need to close our eyes, turn inwards and try desperately to connect to something bigger, greater and more knowing than we are. No matter how amazing and above it all we feel and think we are, the fragility of our very mortality will at some point in our lives humble us to the greatness of what caused us to be in the first place, regardless of what we may call it.
With every new year, we dream of new possibilities, we swear to do better, we feel confident that we we tackle more impossibilities and we feel armed with the promise of a new mystery box that awaits our discovery…
There are those in the world who are destined to have their whole lives intertwined with hard labor . They accept their fates and press on through life with strength, determination and a quiet acceptance.
When you ride the subway trains in New York City everyday with their strong smell, the shrieking brake noise of the arriving trains, the unintelligible speech of the conductors, and the repeating “stand clear of the closing doors”, you beging to feel a sense of belonging in those underground tunnels, almost like a city rat. You pick a spot that is convenient for you stand in each day while you wait for the train, you decide weather you are in the mood to look for a seat or simply just stand, and the train ride becomes a kind of a meditation. I always loved people watching while on the subway, and trying to imagine the stories behind each face while trying hard to keep mine anonymous.
When fire meets water, when legends merge with life, when mystery overshadows skepticism, when fantasy touches your heart and you fly with the dragons…
A haunting place where your mind can fly with the dragons if you let it.
While I was living in New York City a few years back, I heard a story from a friend about eyes that stayed with me since. She said that a native American man came to the city once and realized how hard and unnatural the streets are on the human eyes. He explained that people are meant to gaze at far away horizons at least once a day and knowing that, he wondered how people can live in a big city where all impressions bounce back into their eyes at such close distances. In the metropolis our eyes work overtime on our behalf when we cross the street, walk on the pavement, dodge passersby and even at home in front of our fast-moving screens of impressions.
Photo taken: a woman on a pavement in Hanoi~ Vietnam
Nature always finds a way to erode away human traces on its surfaces around the planet. In the temples of Angkor Wat, like in this old one in Ta Prohm, nature’s ways are not very subtle. The magnificent banyan trees just march over the great temples with their large trunks and extend their roots to wrap them around the great rocks and squeeze them till they simply fall apart under the intense pressure. And no matter how many times humans try to cut the trees and free the ruins, the trees just keep coming back. Such are the mysterious ways of the jungle temples of Cambodia. In these places you don’t have to squint or extend your arms to try and feel any energies or vibrations of mystery, because it all stares you straight in the face and if you stand there long enough, it just might warp you in its powerful grip.
I was riding a boat on the waters of the Tonle Sap around sunset. The sun was shining a very bright gold and there was light breeze that gently toyed with the surface of the water. It felt as though I was transported to a strange future, a post natural disaster of some sorts, where all around me were stilts, make shift floating homes and boats, humans in rags smiling wistfully and surviving with the bare minimum. Then I felt a face gazing at me from a boat passing nearby, and there was this lady with her beautiful kind face and her warm smile. She allowed me to keep her radiance and to share it with you.
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~Confucius
If there was an image that I feel could do better without words, it would be this one…