|photos taken and words written intermittently on iphone because: smart phone, lazy human. i won’t post my touristy photos, only photos of family’s home province in korea. (just snatches of life for the curious)|
|we passed this healing temple on our hike up the mountain to pick edible plants. kind of strange site with buddhist and shamanist motifs. i wanted to see a shaman perform “kut” but lacked time. my grandmother accepted my curiosity because, after all, exorcisms are sometimes necessary, but she warned me not to be seduced by mysticism. later she wanted to know if the eclipse was a bad omen…
next is the soldiers’ temple by our house. (there are many soldiers in yanggu, because it is close to the border, and as my uncle said, “let this be a reminder that we are still a country at war.”) the first time i wandered there, it seemed abandoned. the second time, i saw only one soldier playing with a puppy in the distance, and heard a monk chanting inside the temple. he started in the morning, and when i left before dusk, he was still chanting. i sat in the shade of the temple beneath the fish-shaped bell, sketched the buddha on the hill overlooking the district, and listened to the monk’s voice. then i heard screeching and the beating of enormous wings in the forest behind me. a few moments later, i witnessed the flight of an eagle; i will never forget the rush of air i felt and heard as it beat its wings and dove past the hill.
this is the sound of korean monk chanting sutra, just as i heard for hours. 15 minutes into the video you can hear the heart sutra….
…. my oldest uncle gave me a fan printed with this sutra in hangul. my uncles gave me amazing gifts: two other painted fans, an old ink-stone and water-well for traveling scholars, a traditional lacquerware box which i have ALWAYS desired, a mirror with samjogo motif, and a letter opener with norigae.
here are photos of the neighborhood in which my grandparents still reside. at dusk this rice paddy across the road becomes a concert hall for frogs. frogs raise a deafening chorus at night, leave thousands of swarming tadpoles in nearby mountain streams, and during the day, sneak into our outdoor laundry space for sneaky hands to catch.
my neighbor warned me as i petted her two dogs (so vigorously that clouds of yellow dust rose from their soft backs), “these… are dirty dogs.” most dogs in the country are raised outdoors. my family’s ill-tempered dog is a mix of two native korean breeds, jindo and poongsan; she is a kimchi dog. i also met an amazing outdoor cat. after an introductory meow, she leaped onto my lap to cuddle and to decorate me with her yellow paw prints and mats of allergy-inducing cat hairs.
next to our place is the park soo keun museum. on the climb up to his grave dandelion seeds filled the air like tiny sprites, and i saw numerous korean magpies, their backs glimmering blue in the hazy light. the grounds of the museum yielded lovely views of the country.
just some photos taken of home. gigantic traditional jars kept outside for storing condiments and such. grandparents’ house is typical one-story building with ondol floors… no chairs or beds… photo of light supper, indoor decorations…
I JUST LOVE THESE TWO SO MUCH: