Arriving at the tail end of dusk we managed to get onto the temple grounds at a discounted rate. We slowly wandered up into the darkness as a large single bell started to chime in the distance. Methodically it rang, growing louder as we approached. Large and deep, the notes it struck contained harmonics that I could feel deep in my chest as it rung and faded into the dark night.

Not long after, from behind the closed doors of a temple nearby, a gentle light glowing from inside, the tap of a wooden percussion instrument and the chime of another bell crept out from the walls and filled the courtyard. A voice inside started to chant followed by a few others, slowly and to an unknown rhythm. The wooden taps continued, one, two, three… Louder at first and steady then trailing off as if a marble was dropped onto a cement floor; tap… tap… tap.. tap.. tap.tap.

The only other sound was the chatter of those I came with as they wandered further onto the grounds ahead of me leaving behind a stillness that caused my heart to feel as though it would break. The delicate ring of a nameless emotion resonated deep in my chest and left me feeling venerable and alone. Truth be told, I love moments like these and the way they create feelings unknown to description and fill me with a peace so absolute that I fear once they fade, nothing else will be able to compare to the impossible standards they set in place.

It’s rare to come across moments like these and I feel it’s important to hold onto their memory any way I can. In this case, with a photo and a frantic attempt to describe the cause and effect in words just after we left that night. When I came across the photo in my library this morning I thought it would be nice to share what I had written that night along with one of two photos I managed to snap in near darkness by setting the camera on the ground to steady it during a long exposure.

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