This photo from my old collection is probably one of my favorite for inspiring hope. In light of Sunday’s tragedy at the Sikh temple I think we could all use a little hope. This image is from the Buddhist Stuppa in Sedona, Arizona, the items or all offerings different visitors, the uniqueness showing the diversity in prayer. While I don’t believe in Buddhism like my father, or Christianity like my mother, I recognize the good in both of them. I thought it was scary enough when Columbine in the City where my Uncle lived. My cousins new people who were there. That hit close to home, this weekends Temple attack in my own hometown, the city next to my current home, that is, disorientating. I never imagined that the world would ever know where my hometown is. Hearing the boring town you group in mentioned on BBC world news is scary. When we went to Batman last week I commented that it’s good we live in nowhere instead of a big city, we don’t have to worry about scary terrorist attacks, and then this happens. It might be a hate crime, but it’s still a terrorist attack, hateful killing of American Citizens. And As someone who loves to study and absorb different cultures I just do not understand the hate. My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones, and to those who will have to live with the scars caused by a monster. I pray for a world with more peace and cultural understanding.
I love paths look like they could lead to a magicalplace. I think it’s my refusal to accept that magic isn’t possible, or maybe just my overactive imagination. This particular magical trail was in Kilkenny, Ireland. The door at the end almost blew my mind with the possibilities of other realms it could lead too. Ireland is suppose to be a magical little island after all isn’t it?
A shrine in Hokane, Japan
While on our trip to Hokane to view Mt Fuji we spotted this shrine next to one of the train stops. We couldn’t resist getting off to explore on our way home. It was a bit scary getting off the train, not knowing when the last train went by or where exactly we even were on the mountain side. The shrine was fascinating. It was so different from the shrines in Thailand, though I saw some similar themes. The sun was setting and the woods around the area was getting quite dark, giving the whole area a mystical feel. It made me wonder if some of the demons and spirits always seen in occult animme were watching from trees.
A baby elephant in a viewing corral in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
When vacationing in Thailand the province of Chiang Mai is popular choice for both tourists and Thai alike, all looking for one thing, elephants. Elephants have long been one of my favorite animals so my stay in Thailand just wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to Chiang Mai.
The baby pictured above is chained to it’s mother in front of the loading area for the elephant rides. The rides were much more exciting than what you normally see in the US. Instead of just going around a loop while someone guides the elephant from the ground, a handler rides on the front of the elephants head and guides the elephant around the scenic park. At one point we even got to ride through a river.
My dad like’s to tell me how Thai children find the English word elephant very amusing because it is so complex. In Thai the word for elephant is “chang”, a very simple word in Thai and one of the first words babies often learn. For Thai culture the elephant is more than just a native animal it is a symbol and a deep part of their culture so “chang” is and important word. (I find it a bit amusing that it is now also the name of a popular beer.) Recently the first fully computer animated film made in Thailand came out, called Khan Khluay, about a famous war elephant owned by one of Thailand’s great kings. It had a huge toy market while I was there and I really wanted one of those stuffed animals for myself but for packing purposes had to be content with just bringing a copy of the movie home.
Buddha's in a SriChang temple.
These Buddha’s were lined up in a temple on the island of SriChang. In front of them were seven pots in which you were supposed to drop coins in for good luck. I was told the pots represented the days of the week. One person said you should drop the coins in the day of the week that you were born on. I don’t know which day of the week I was born on off the top of my head so I just followed the lead of the girls before me and went down the line dropping a coin in each pot.
As a side note I will be running a print series of this image, available at
A statue in front of a Buddhist Temple in ChonBuri.
We found this temple in ChonBuri behind the reception hall for wedding we attended. It’s interesting how the Buddhist population has so many statues of other gods. There are so many different variations that none of the Thai’s even seem to know who all of the gods are. I think it really shows the Hindu roots of Buddhism. It reminds me a bit of how Christianity just absorbed the traditions of regions they would conquer. The way religions spread and assimilate is a very fascinating subject in my opinion. The statue was beautifully lit though and the candles added to the majestic feel of it.
A flickering candle lit to honor the god whose statue is in front of the temple.