Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo quiescendi vel movendi uniformiter in directum, nisi quatenus a viribus impressis cogitur statum illum mutare.Isaac Newton
(Every body must persist in its state of rest or of moving uniformly in a straight direction, except in so far as it is forced to change that state by impressed forces.)
Mahaparinirvana. It’s hard to imagine a state of peace deeper than the one that is achieved when a person who has attained nirvana during his lifetime passes away. That is the theme of the sleeping Buddhas that you see so often in Buddhist iconography. The statue that you see in the photo is in Bangkok’s Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It was a very hot day when I arrived here and sat in the shade to cool off. So I was in a state of peace, albeit lesser, when I walked around the statue.
Another place, another golden day. An afternoon spent taking photos of birds in the shallows of Odisha’s Chilika lake, ended with a glorious sunset. As the light failed I was forced to stop taking photos of birds. I was quite satisfied, and as much at peace with the day as a birder can be. It was time to catch the light through the reeds. Does that photo say “peace” to you?
I spent a month in Frascati one summer a few years ago. An old friend and a colleague was also there with his partner. A weekend before the solstice there was a program of music in the open at every square in the town. We spent the evening at an enoteca in a small square. Like many of these extablishments, you could buy jugs of fresh wine and sit at a table outside. We’d brought our own olives and bread, cold cuts and olive oil and salad. We sat there with the food and wine and listened to the music as we talked. I only had an old phone to take photos with; it didn’t do well with low light. Six months later I heard that my friend had tested positive for cancer. I met him once again after that, but this is how I remember the couple, by that last peaceful summer.
So many of my most peaceful memories are near lakes and by the sea! This is a photo I took on a rainy day on Lake Inle in Myanmar. Some villages on the lake (they build their houses on stilts planted in the mud) farm lotus, and use the fiber from the stems to make cloth. I bought a shirt made from this fabric, and found it was very comfortable after a couple of washes. In that moment I went wild photographing water drops at rest on the leaves with my trusty old Panasonic Lumix. You can see the reflection of the gray sky in the large drop in the photo above. The people on the lake live a hard life, but, at that time at least, their lives seemed peaceful.