Wat Phan Tao, Chiang Mai

People stop in the street and look up at the sky. A steady stream of orange lights is rising from the horizon, arching slowly overhead. It heralds the silent ascent of lights from all corners of the city, until soon the hemisphere over our heads is dotted like a vast planetarium. New constellations taking momentary shape. A solitary flaming tail giving the illusion of a meteor burning through the atmosphere before flickering into ashes.

In the grounds of Wat Phan Tao, the Monastery of a Thousand Kilns, a row of Theravada monks sit motionless. They chant in unison, creating a hypnotic drone that reverberates around the temple and merges with the sound of fireworks exploding in all directions as midnight arrives.

In these moments, the endless turnings of the mind stop completely and give way to a single sensation. Wonder.

Happy New Year, Thailand.


village dog by Francesca Fuga
Via Flickr:
near Chiang Mai, Thailand