tea ceremony

I woke up this morning with a memory hanging around like a dream. 
Once upon a time I got paid to travel.  This was while I lived in Korea and we went on a few trips to different parts of the country to film a show called "Welcome to Korea".  It was shown on flights coming into the country to give tourists ideas of places to see, things to do, that kind of thing.  
We went on a trip in January when it is really {reaaally} cold to a Buddhist Temple somewhere along the coast.  
We did everything the resident monks did.  
We arrived late the first night just in time for evening prayers.  I struggled to keep up with all the bowing and kneeling.
We slept on the heated floors with the same thin blankets and mats that the monks use.  
We ate our simple meals out of wooden bowls and cleaned them with our rice as we went so by the time the meal was complete there was no clean up.  
We sat in silence as we created traditional printings. 
{shown above on the right}
The rhythm of their every day was so sure.
We had interesting discussions you might imagine when you put an aethist German, a buddhist monk and a young American Mormon girl together for long stretches of time.
 We had a traditional tea ceremony.

The tea ceremony is where my memory became so vivid this morning I could almost smell the tea leaves.
We were set up to film outside on the veranda outside the prayer room overlooking the countryside.  
It was early morning and a dense mist moved in as things were being set up for the ceremony so that I could only see the tips of the trees on the hillside below us. There was a gusty wind swirling it around so that I could see individual strands of it moving between the trees creating pockets of color and sunlight all around us.  Because of the moisture in the air and the bright morning sunshine it was like being inside a moving prism.

I remember sitting very still watching everything around me because it had set in so quietly I knew it'd be over before I knew it.  
The monks were chanting, the film crew all seemed to be under the same spell I was.  I snapped a few pictures hoping to capture the surreal moment somehow.  The pictures were pretty, but didn't begin to capture the real thing.

A week later when I was back in Seoul I was telling my sister in law about this and pulled my camera out to show her only to find every single picture from that trip had been lost.  
I'm almost glad now {it took some time to feel this way} because pictures sometimes restrict my memory.  This way that morning can live on in my mind's eye the way I still see it.


  1. You have quite the philospher's tongue to go along with your artist's eye. I don't need pictures either because you described better with words than a lens could capture. And they say a picture is worth a thousand words....not so when it comes to JR.

  2. Your life experiences are so varied and interesting. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us mundane souls. :)

  3. Oh.my.gosh.
    Good thing you didn't loose your MIND!!!

  4. You really DO need to write a book about your adventures!