I’ve probably mentioned the hills and paths that surround Stone Island Valley behind my apartment complex. It’s not much of a valley and dale might be a better word to describe it. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a nice place to take a walk because most people take their walks on the concrete road that goes up the dale and fewer people go up into the hills to stroll amongst the trees.
Not only are there fewer walkers on the path, but at most points you can’t see any houses or roads. I almost said you can’t see any signs of civilisation, but this would be false because the hills are full of grave markers and tombs.
On my walk this day, I saw only one person and he was quite a distance away. He must have turned off somewhere, because he never caught up to me even though I frequently stopped to make photos.
In addition to a human, I saw and heard birds the whole time I was walking and as I was coming down off the hill near the end of my walk I was surprised by a deer who leapt out of some tall grass and ran for the hills. It was at the bottom of that path where I cam across a photogenic tree that I want to visit again in different kinds of weather. This might make an attractive colour photograph in late spring.
I noticed today that WordPress automatically includes the captions I write in Lightroom to the bottom of each photo. This might be a new feature as it’s never happened before. Or perhaps I deleted metadata in the past when saving for the web. Anyway, it’s a convenience. I wish it would read the keywords, though. That’s what takes up the time.
A road goes all the way around Jukheon Reservoir and you can see everything from tombs to farms to woods to pensions to gateball courts to men fishing next to No Fishing signs. It’s normally quiet at the reservoir – there are few cars driving around and it’s not a tourist spot.
It’s a six kilometre bicycle ride from my apartment to the artificial lake, so by the time I arrive, look around, and make some photos, I’m pretty thirsty. Sometimes I sit by the side of the road with a thermos of tea and enjoy a view like the one in the photo above. More often than not I’ll sit by some graves and enjoy a cool drink. The dead don’t seem to mind, they’re quiet, and I tip a small libation as payment for the seat.
Inscriptions at tomb sites are often written in Chinese characters, so it’s difficult for me to find out who is buried under the mounds of earth. Whoever they were, they must have belonged to a well-off family with the money to buy a large piece of land and have stelae, statues, and tombs made. These photographs were made in May, when there wasn’t much rain to make the land green. The grass probably grew a lot during the rainy season (I haven’t been there since I made these photos) and the site will get groomed in September in preparation for the harvest festival when Koreans perform rites to honour their ancestors. But not all Koreans. Protestants are forbidden from performing ancestral rites because it’s considered worshipping gods/spirits other than God/Jesus/Holy Ghost. There are quite a few tomb sites around the reservoir, but none as large, as impressive, and as secluded as this one. Most are within sight of houses and, although I’m not walking on graves or anything, I’m not sure how people would feel about me looking around and making photos.