Friday, October 21, 2011

Yeonju-dae sunrise

My last weekend in Bundang, I took the bus out late Saturday afternoon to Gwanak Mt and hike up the Yeonju Hermitage and Yeonju-dae just in time for sunset. I'd wanted to watch the sunrise in front of the little shrine fitted on the edge of the cliff since before I left the area but there was no bus that left early enough. So I lugged my tent up the trail along the gorge and after admiring the sunset from the peak I climbed down where the ruins of ancient temple halls provided a flat spot for camping.

As I fumbled around in the deep purple light, struggling to get the long tent pole through seems of the tent, the old monk I'd greeted on the way down began the evening chants that echoed down from the small shrine just above, paced by the scorched voices five or six grandmothers. About half way through Cheon-su Gyungm, The Thousand Hands of Compassion, the tent was up and using my sleeping bag as a cusion, I sat through the Gwanseum Bosal chant.

Ready to sleep, I called EunBong to say goodnight and I was a little confused when she said she and Fina were just leaving the super market. It felt like the middle of the night up on the mountain but I realized it was still about six hours before I usually go to bed.

It was a long night, managing just occasional bits of sleep, interrupted by the cold hard ground and middle of the night hiking expeditions that I didn't know were a popular pass time until 2am that morning...

I'd set my alarm for 5am, but the morning temple bells sounded first. Either way, I was up before both of them, craving the warmth of movement even more than the needed sleep. Outside, the air and ground were soaked in a thick fog that glowed orange from the city light diffusing there way to the peak. Higher up, where the wispy edge of the fog bank rushed about, the new moon would faded in and out of clarity through the sketched lines of a big tree, already blown mostly leafless by the mountain updraft.

Unsure if the sun would manage to burn though in the infancy of sunrise, I made my way up to the look off to wait, just incase. It wasn't long before I was rewarded with a faint half-cirlcle of pink glowing through the fog.

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