I remember as a child getting very excited about the occasional long walks we took to our favorite monastery pocketed in the heart of the Lebanese mountain overlooking the valley of the saints. We walked for hours and felt the importance of our pilgrimage with every dusty step. It says so much about pilgrimages and the necessity of removing oneself from a current situation to meet new requirements for personal development. Walking up the mountain dictated a baggage free walk and a sense of lightness and freedom that only comes from surrender to a higher cause.
I look back with so much endearment to those days, the time of innocence and magic.
Day 47 of 365~
Image taken of a young monk Myanmar during my trip there last year.
In the town of Tashkurgan, home of the Tajik people in Xinjiang, bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan, I met this boy in the old mountainous Pamir region. It is said that this town marks the middle way between Europe and China. The faces I saw there were unforgettable.
From a recent journey to the old villages around Huangshan (yellow mountains) of China’s Anhui province, I was utterly inspired with the landscape, the feeling of calm that blankets the area and the mystical sense of being so far away from it all.
It made me think a lot about the nature of water, and reflections that are abundant in this place; the magic of seeing the world repeated, maybe for us to think twice.
Ask me where I am from, where home is, and I find myself thinking before I answer you. This is the case for so many of us these days. We come from mixed race marriages, we leave our home countries, we live in a new place, we move again, we marry from yet another country and our children are left with a number of origins to choose from and call home. Recently someone asked my 7 year old niece where she was from, and she answered: “I am a Swiss/Lebanese/New Zealander and I live in UAE”, whereas my 9 year old daughter is a German/American/Lebanese who lives in China. Is this the face of new world citizenship and the age of planetary close connections and integration? I wonder…
One of the rewards of going into far away parts of China is meeting innocence. Innocence lives her sister simplicity with the natural people of this world. My friend who travelled with me on this trip has amazingly beautiful and extremely curly hair and at the sight of it a crowd of sweet women gathered and followed us around with the single wish of touching my friend’s hair. Moments like this make you have hope again for our world and its war of differences.
Like old friends they walked down the mountain road, a man and his helper, friends after years of long lonely walks, man and bull finding a common language, because that is what happens when closeness heralds warmth between planetary beings.
Yunnan, a place the clouds and the mists favor, a place that moderate weather loves to stay around in, a place that has more than 25 colorful minority groups calling it home, a place of breathtaking beauty, this will be the subject of the next 31 days of photos. The origin of the name Yunnan (south of the Yunling mountains) is also literally translated to ‘south of the clouds’.
The region abounds in mystery and I can’t wait to delve into my archive of thousands of photos to find exactly the 31 images to tell my story with.
Sometimes it takes being in a far away place and simply gazing across a horizon to appreciate something so simple such as color. Color surrounds us and permeates our lives on this rich planet and a realization as obvious as blue and yellow making green can be so profound.