Friday, April 22, 2016

Talking to Trees

 An admission: I often talk to myself.  Not silent and mindless monkey-mind chatter.  I mean I talk out loud.

I'll be out alone, walking the half-mile trail that winds through the woods on one side of our property. I'll come around a bend in the trail and, through an opening in the trees,  I'll see an eagle flying overhead,  or, at my feet I'll notice a wildflower in bloom,  and I'll say "WOW!" 
If I'm feeling particularly verbal I might say "OH MY!"

Other times, when I'm out in the mountains on a hike with my friends and I see something amazing and comment about it, my friends probably think I'm sharing a thought with them. This is not necessarily so. I'd likely say the same thing if I was hiking alone…as if the big trees and ferns or the mountains might answer back.

Since today is Earth Day, I thought I'd post a number of recent photographs I have made when I saw something that prompted me to stop, and to respond, either verbally or photographically -- most likely,  both.

Above are two pictures from the property where we live. Below are images from a hike two friends and I did in the nearby Olympic Mountains, starting out in lush, green forest and climbing up and up above the clouds into the alpine high country. It was a day of many WOW moments.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Prayers in the Wind

 Two dear friends are experiencing ongoing (and I assume scary) health challenges, so on my last hike I put a small string of prayer flags on the summit of a beautiful peak in the Olympic Mountains.

Though I always practice a leave-no-trace ethos in wild places, the prayer flags I left seemed appropriate in that instance. If another climber comes along, my guess is that he/she also will have no problem with the prayer flags -- perhaps even smile and enjoy their presence.  If not, the climber can remove them. By the time someone else visits that summit, the winds and weather will have spread the prayers anyway.

So, that's me in the photo above, a peak called "The Brothers" in the distance. Below is an image I shot in 2007 on our first (of two) trips to the Himalaya, in Nepal. Prayer flags are common there on a high mountain pass, or even on Buddhist shrines in cities.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Seeing History

Two venerable and respected Tibetan Buddhist lamas came together in Seattle last weekend -- an historic meeting to be sure -- and my cameras and I were in non-stop,  go-go-go mode for the event.

Sayka Trizin Rinpoche traveled here from India to lead long life prayers for HH JD Sakya Rinpoche, who has been ill recently.  (In the photograph above, Sakya Trizin is at left, offering a ceremonial scarf, or katag, to JD Sakya Rinpoche.)

It's been two days now since the prayers concluded,  but my head is still spinning. I was witness to so much color and humanity, to so many beautiful faces, and felt such a sense of responsibility to do it all photographic justice.  Post-event, I'm left feeling a bit hollowed-out and depleted.  As athletes sometimes say, I left it all on the field.

I probably shot a thousand images and have barely had time to download my digital memory cards, much less do a proper edit. Nevertheless, I'm posting a few images that jumped out at me as I shot.

What a weekend!