Photography From the Third Week in December
Sunday has become my day to look at photographs I have taken during the present week. Not necessarily the current year, however. For example, I took three of the photos I showcase today on December 13th, 2011. I call them A Trip to Tibet. The other two date from December 14th, 2016 and December 17th, 2017. In short, all come from the third week in December, as it shows on this year’s calendar. Last Sunday’s post looked at photos from the second week of December. Next week we’ll look at more from the fourth week. See how it goes?
A Trip to Tibet
It used to be, when I had out-of-town guests, I would drive them to Tibet. I’ll bet you didn’t know you could drive from Plains, Montana to Tibet. I direct your attention to the photograph at the top of the page. Does that not look like Tibet? It is, in fact, a Tibetan Buddhist Center in rural Lake County, north of the town of Arlee. Ewam Garden of 1,000 Buddhas offers a tranquil setting for meditation. It also hosts various gatherings throughout the year. Built largely by volunteers, the Garden “is a public park, botanical garden and Buddhist center in the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism.” So says the Garden’s website. Definitely the first stop on any drive to Tibet. I took the photo above on December 13th, 2011, during the third week in December.
Again, looking at the Garden’s website, it explains the meaning behind the striking statue shown above.
Yum Chenmo/Prajnaparamita/The Great Mother
Seated at the center point of the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is the 24-foot tall figure of Yum Chenmo, or Prajnaparamita in Sanskrit meaning Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom. She is depicted in feminine form because it is this perfect wisdom which gives birth to all of the Buddhas, as well as the bodhisattvas, those who are striving for enlightenment to benefit all beings. Yum Chenmo represents the union of primordial wisdom and the skillful means of compassion.
Next stop? Yaks, of course
Once upon a time, oh, this isn’t a fairy tale is it. OK. There used to be a herd of Yaks at a farm just east of Dixon, Montana. All you had to do was drive down Montana Highway 200 and there they were on the south side of the highway. They aren’t there any more. I understand you might find them somewhere around Kalispell, but I haven’t seen them there. In any event, the Dixon farm was always a stop on my drive to Tibet. And the photo above, like the one from the Garden, comes from the third week in December, December 13th, 2011 to be specific.
On my drive to Tibet, I would always head north on U.S. 93, climbing the Ravalli Hill along side the National Bison Range. As you reach the crest of the hill, a vast mountain range comes into view. These are the Mission Mountains–one of my favorite photographic subjects. Weather patterns mean that no two photos are ever the same. And there have been times the clouds or fog obscured the mountains completely. But you can’t go to Tibet without seeing the Himalayas, and here, taken during the third week of December, 2011, is my view–as close to the real thing as I’ll ever be.
Another Wooly Animal Caught the Third Week in December
The Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep is a road hazard here in Sanders County. In the winter, they come down from the higher mountains and gather alongside our highways. Often they stand in the middle of the traffic lane and refuse to move. It has been such a problem that the Montana Department of Transportation has dropped the speed limit on Highway 200 between Plains and Thompson Falls. With that in mind, I’m still thrilled to be able to capture one, or several, along the highway. Just as I caught this one near Thompson Falls the third week in December, 2016.
Finally, an American Building
Ronan, Montana is a half-hour north of the Ewam Garden. If you approach the town of Ronan from the west on Round Butte Road, the Lake Flour Mill’s old elevator certainly commands your attention, especially on a wintry day with the Mission Mountains as a backdrop. The old elevator no longer serves its intended purposes, but what a beauty it makes as a photographic subject. This time, the photo dates from the third week in December, 2017.