End of the Line

This photo means a lot to me. I remember taking it while out for a drive with my daughter in Indiana in 2010. I haven’t been able to get back for a visit since then. It reminds me of Steve Reich’s haunting composition, Different Trains. So here’s a film tribute, with the complete music, to go with the photo.

Jigme Norbu

An SUV ran over a man in Florida last night, while he was walking along the side of the road in the dark.  This is headline news because his name is Jigme Norbu, nephew of the Dalai Lama.  Norbu was on a 300 mile Walk For Tibet to gather support for Tibetan independence from China.  Here’s the full Guardian story, and here’s Norbu (on the right) on a similar walk last year.

Norbu’s father, Thubten, another walker for a free Tibet, was the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother.  He settled in Bloomington, Indiana, where he became Professor Emeritus of Eurasian Studies at Indiana University.  He also founded the Tibetan Cultural Center in 1979, a remarkable collection of Tibetan-style buildings in a woodland setting.  The Center was rescued from bankruptcy in 2005, only after his family – wife, Jigme and Jigme’s wife – were booted off the board of directors.  Phayul.com has the full story.

The news of Jigme’s death reminded me of a visit last March to my daughter and grandchildren in Bloomington, on the way to Scotland.  Ellie drove me out to the Cultural Center for a look at the place.  Nobody else was there, it seemed, and the unfamiliar buildings in their bright primary colours looked like a stage set.  It was very quiet and peaceful, we had a good walk, talked about important things, and I took some photos.

Tibetan Cultural Center



No idea what this is

Stupa containing Mandala

Inside Stupa

Mandala on Ceiling

And just a couple of miles away, there’s this.  I suspect the farmer hanging from the hayloft is a Hoosier joke.


Nutcracker Blues

I’m feeling really homesick for Seattle.  Tonight is the last performance of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker.  Martha and I would go every Christmas, a tradition built up over 20 years as housemates.  Here’s the trailer:

Always the same performance, with only the dancers changing from year to year, and the same, brilliant Maurice Sendak set.  That didn’t matter.  It was a fixed point of pure pleasure in the year, and a forgetting of all the cares of the world.

On this freezing night of driving sleet, I want something to warm my hands and heart around.  And it’s thousands of miles away in another world.