I came upon this glorious setting and the two young nuns unexpectedly. They were walking to their place of study, following a simple dirt path they likely took daily. Viewing them in this green enclave, enveloped by lush trees, I recognized and responded to the co-existence of a grand display of nature and a rare, human moment of friendship and intimacy. I saw no pretense in this image; only truth.
In an instant, I felt myself traveling back to my childhood. I recalled being young and feeling safe whenever I was in nature. Climbing trees, chasing deer while hoping never to catch them, investigating birds, bugs, plants, and trees, I found a special peace. The forest was a place so removed from the concrete jungle in which I spent most of my days.
I used to wonder what trees think of us. Our lives are fleeting compared to the decades of their uprightness. Even a tree’s decay, should it ever fall, is gorgeous to behold over a vast expanse of time. I still wonder—and hold trees in greatest respect. Do you notice the cloth on the one girl’s outfit that covers her left shoulder only? Exposing the right shoulder is a sign of respect in some Buddhist countries and I like to think that is why it is draped, as were all the wraps I saw during this trip to Mandalay, accordingly. Regardless of how you or I or these young girls show respect, in the presence of nature, let us join to pay homage without pretense.