It is now mid-March, and by the time you read this, there is a good chance that Spring Equinox will have come and gone. An ordinary day, not unlike the few that came before, or the ones which will most likely round out the week here in Jeolla-do. However, this day gains its subtle power through symbolic importance, that of marking the beginning of a new season. As many a sage, and perhaps hippy will tell you (conjure up the voice of Tommy Chong for just a sec), “never underestimate the power of the mind, man.” Therefore, our expectations for the lives we hope to live in this fragile, yet predictable spring rebirth rest on our knowing that things will indeed change. We can trust in that. Already, as I type, the as of yet largely unseen action of the earth below is setting the stage for changes which we need only wait for.
While feeling the subtle hints of spring the past week, I searched for an image taken this past winter which eluded to the figurative and literal changes in the air. This shady grave, high in the hills above Damyang fits the bill. Adjacent to a gully in the crook of two hills, it is left isolated from foot traffic and the sun’s rays. However, even this relative solitude could not prevent the recent warming of the earth around the mound. As the snow melted several weeks ago, it revealed this circular shape. The mountain had highlighted the small dome from its surroundings. In doing so, it now focuses our eyes on what had several days before been a nearly unrecognizable subject. The image serves as both a symbolic end to the winter we are leaving behind, and while also hinting at changes we can soon expect. We, the viewers are left to ponder at the changes happening beneath. It also seems reasonable to project certain emotions onto the white tomb. It waits, like we the living do, for the sprouting of the inevitable changes beneath.
[Photo taken with a Olympus 35sp with its fixed 42mm f1.7 lens, shooting Ilford Delta 3200]
(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)