pure earth

This evening, I will allow the photographs to speak for themselves. Well…for the most part.

In typical fashion for my family: on November 21, 2008, we were lounging around our suburban Philadelphia home with firm plans to spend the Thanksgiving holiday doing more of the same. In the early morning hours of November 22nd, we found ourselves weaving through the security maze at the Philadelphia International Airport en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico. “To each his own” quickly became the guiding principle of this impromptu vacation to warmer and friendlier territory. My younger brother  committed himself to a solitary perch on the sandy shoreline, thus amassing a stunning collection of images. Photo: SK; on the beach near San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 Mother Nature’s welcome at the conclusion of quite the meteorological–and muddy–day on the Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites of northern Italy. Shortly after I snapped this photo, the proprietor of the rifugio [which served as our luxurious homestead for that evening] informed me in frantic Italian that Michael Jackson had passed away. He confirmed this information by thrusting the front page of La Repubblica (the Italian national newspaper) into my hands. Photo: AK; outside of Rifugio Bruto Carestiato, Dolomites, Italy.

I wish I could speak firsthand of this experience. My younger brother–who seems to be the subject of frequent mentions in going glacial–spent a month performing hard labor on an organic vegetable farm in eastern Iceland last fall. Looks like he escaped for a little quality time with Mother Earth, too. Photo: SK; “Dramatic Sunset on the Eastern Fjords of Iceland.”

Head down, one foot in front of the other. The comforting words of our guide (the rightmost climber in this image): “Annie, just step over this crevasse, and you’ll be on the summit.” As simple as that. Photo: SK; from the summit of Ishinca (18,204 feet) in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru.

A fire on high in the Himalaya, experienced on a brother-and-sister excursion into the Nepal Khumbu in November of 2010. Photo: SK; near Everest Base Camp.

…lest I overlook the allure of my home paradise. Photo: AK; location undisclosed.

While venturing around western Bhutan last fall, we observed strings of fluttering prayer flags adorning the highest mountain passes–radiant strands against the beige landscape and perpetually gray skies and purveyors of good will and compassion to the mighty wind. We can thus interpret these prayer flags as a low-impact vehicle for tying our humanity to nature’s greatest elements: blue for sky; white for air; red for fire; green for water; and yellow for Earth. Photo: AK; near Thimphu, Bhutan.


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