Gyeongju was fabulous yesterday, perfectly Halloweenish. No ghost cat this time, though.
Gyeongju is home to the tumuli tombs of the Silla kings, some as old as mid-1st century. The most famous is the Flying Horse Tomb, as a birchbark saddle mudflap with such a horse painted on it was found inside, in amazing condition. But I am haunted by the largest and the only tumulus - one of dozens in Gyeongju - to have trees growing out of it. Unbelievable, Tim Burton trees. Just what is it that allows the mood, the magic, the majesty, exuded by these ancient living things, which I feel looking at them no matter the season or the weather, this feeling of entranced and humbled awe they gift me, to seep into the pictures? It’s not even how they look at the time, but only how they seem to me. The very first image I posted on this blog back on 1 August is a Poladroided Lomo of two of those trees. I got another 100 or so images last night. I thought it might be a Lomo thing, this strange alchemy - the LC-A can be like that - but it works with any camera, this capturing of the numinous from and around these marvelous trees.
As mentioned, it’s not only Gyeongju’s trees I’ve been haunted by. In 2005 I stumbled across a guest house next to the main tumuli park called Sa Rang Chae, a set of little traditional houses with sleeping mats on the heated floors. It was a windy night, with a little snow, and one of the handmade-paper screen doors blew open and woke me. After falling back into a fretful sleep I was awoken again by a sensation: the feeling of paws moving on the bed to my right, then across my chest, then off the bed to my left. When I turned on the light there was no cat there. But after spending much of my childhood sharing my bed with a cat called Tinkerbell, I know what I felt.