Tag Archives: peaceful

River To The Sky

Photography by Doug Couvillion of clouds reflected on the James River at Huguenot Flatwater

Sunrise on the river is one of my favorite ways to start the day.  When the water is calm it’s hard to image a more peaceful place.  Approaching the river fills me with a sense of wonder and a profound appreciation of what lies ahead.  Soon I’ll be out there among the herons and geese.

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Making The Mandala

I normally post a single photograph at a time but today we visited the Virginia Holocaust Museum where a group of Tibetan monks was working on a mandala.  It was an inspiration to witness the patience, concentration and precision of the monks at work.  To give you a better feel for the whole scene I decided to post a series of photos.

The Tibetan Buddhist art of mandala is a practice in which the participants create an elaborate, beautiful mosaic of colored sand.   They work on the mandala for many days, adding little bits of colored sand to fill in each section.  The sand is added slowly and precisely to create crisp, clear lines.  When the mandala is finished the monks sweep up the sand and discard it in a river.  The process is both meditative and a practice in impermanence.

This monk was working alone when we arrived.  His concentration was remarkable.

photograph of a Tibetan monk concentrating on adding sand to a mandala

Despite the crowd of people watching, the monks remained focused on the task at hand.

photograph of a crowd watching Tibetan monks make a mandala

One of the monks gets more blue sand to add to the mandala.

photograph of a Tibetan monk getting colored sand to use for a mandala

Up to three monks worked on the mandala at a time.

photograph of two Tibetan monks working on a mandala

photograph of Tibetan monks working on a mandala

Here you can see some of the vibrant colored sand used to create the mandala.

photograph of the colored sand used by Tibetan monks to make a Mandala

I’ll leave you with a classic Buddhist wish, part of the metta bhavana, or “loving kindness”, practice…

May you be well.

May you be happy.

May you be free from suffering.


Mountain Stream, Dark Hollow Falls

photograph of a mountain stream and waterfall in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA

The fixed, hard stone provides an ideal path for water to rush down the mountain.  The stone may seem immobile and rigid but in time it will be defeated by the steady pounding of the water and the quiet, patience of the moss.  For now they share this space and offer a beautiful, peaceful spot to sit and rest.


Mountain Pool, Dark Hollow Falls

Photograph of a pool in a stream in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA

I love these mountain pools in Shenandoah National Park.  This one is downstream from Dark Hollow Falls but you can find scenes like this throughout the park.

Click on the image to see a larger version of the photograph.


Weekly Photo Challenge – On The Way

 Island Of Wildflowers

photograph of a rocky outcropping in a stream, covered with wildflowers in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA

On the way to Dark Hollow Falls, in Shenandoah National Park, I noticed this tiny “island” of wildflowers and moss growing in the stream.

If you click on the image you can see a much larger version of it.


VMFA Water Lilies

photograph of water lilies at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art

The water lilies were in full bloom at the Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts (VMFA) on Mother’s Day.


Ripples And Pebbles

photograph of ripples and rocks in the James River near Richmond, VA

I wanted to capture contrasts in this image.  The bright sunlight filling the upper right corner of the frame versus the dark shadows of the stones.  There’s also the serene, softly moving ripples on the water contrasting with the smooth but fixed and solid stones.

Sometimes we can find our duality in the simplest places.  Without hard there is no soft. Without bright there is no dark.