Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Prayer Flags

I don't need much of an excuse to go burrowing through my old photos. So after mentioning the flag on my altar, I thought I would follow up on the idea of showing the different places where I was involved in putting up prayer flags at Tassajara.
The first place is Flag Rock, of course. In archive pictures of Tassajara, you can see a huge Stars and Stripes flying from this peak, which is, one could reasonably assume, where the name came from. Recently there has been a tradition of having prayer flags up there, and I have put several sets up myself over the years. They are just about visible from Tassajara itself, as Tassajara is just about visible in this first picture, and I always felt that Flag Rock seemed naked without them. I think this first set was one that Mark K had brought back from Tibet, which had been blessed in an auspicious way:

In due course, prayer flags end up looking like this, as they are supposed to:

Other sets replace them:
This set was offered by Steph to be put up right after the fire:

 When I went back last summer, I couldn't see any flags from Tassajara - it turned out that this set needed re-attaching, which I let Jim do this time, as doing so always felt very precarious to me - there is daylight under the big rock on the right in one or two places.

So one summer I had the idea of putting flags up on other high points around Tassajara. The next obvious candidate was Hawk Mountain, above the hill cabins and the solar panels, where the telephone tower stands (somewhat charred these days). This is a steep and hard climb - you can just about make out the start of the trail in the picture above, above the rock on the right - but on this particular day we assembled a crack team, including Rocky, pictured below; the camera got set to 'saturated colour' by mistake, but it didn't really harm the pictures. The flags were donated by Dave G, and as I remember, he had picked them up at a base camp of Mount Everest:

Of course there was a little debate within the team as to where exactly the flags should go. This is me attaching one end of them:

By the next spring, it having been a stormy winter, this was all that remained of that endeavour:

The third spot was the summit of the Tony Trail, still quite a hike uphill, but not quite as arduous as the first two:
Before the fire, I was up at this spot quite a lot, and took this picture, which just about captured the eeriness of the smoky skies one evening:

Nothing of this remained after the fire:

The final spot was one I am going to remain vague about - it is down the creek some way, and after I had discovered it in my first summer, I asked around, and only one person knew of it. I decided it was best kept mostly secret, but I took a couple of people there that summer, and we hoisted some flags:

I doubt anything remains of these either, though I have not been back to check on them since the fire.

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