Zindel Park is a few miles from us and Joanna walks there often. The other day she, and her good friend Ann, planned an excursion and invited me to tag along. Within minutes of our arrival I said You two go on ahead, just be sure to find me on your way back. I have walked the grounds of this place more times than I can remember and I have had the camera with me on many of those occasions. Regardless of the weather or the time-of-day I have always felt a presence when walking among the carefully set stones and stone walls there, all nestled comfortably among a number of beautiful, aged, and fragrant Cedar trees. I have often tried, without success, to capture in an image, the feel of the place which I feel so strongly. Yesterday was dull, dark, cold, and the wind was up. After meandering a bit, I stopped and took in the view you see below. As if out of habit I set my tripod in front of the shrine. I took a single shot, the scene was shrouded in shade. I set the camera to record a series of images with shutter speeds ranging from 0.6s to 10s, I planned to sandwich these to capture the full dynamic range of what was before me. The resulting image speaks to me, in a loud voice. In 1939, Semyon and Valentina Kirlian, the first real promoters of what is called Kirlian Photography, believed that the images they created represented a conjectural energy field, an aura, thought by some to surround all living things. Kirlian and his wife were convinced that their images showed a life force that reflected the physical and emotional state of their subjects. The results of scientific experiments involving Kirlian photographs of live tissue showed that the variations in coronal discharge could be accounted for by the moisture content of the tissue itself. It is fair to say that such photographs do not record the aura, or life force, which may or may not surround living things. That being said, there’s something about the image below, which for me at least, has captured the aura, the feel, of Zindel. The photograph has rendered, to my eyes, that which the Kurlian’s thought they could see in the images they created. The scene is alive such that the placement of boulders, stones, and rocks has significance for the site which has, for lack of a better term, been not merely constructed, but orchestrated. The second image shows the approach to the shrine, it too is made of mountain stone. Both images were taken using long exposures which capture the dynamism of the place; note the blurring of the tree limbs. I was just about to say, Perhaps this is all in my mind. Well, of course it is in my mind. But consider how our minds do what they do. They accept sensory inputs of various sorts, process these with whatever neural software we happen to be in possession of and, as a result, individual impression takes form. Who knows the nature of my processing software, but it tells me that Zindel is alive and a very unusual place indeed.


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