Monks tending to a garden on the banks of the Mekong river in Thailand, photographed by flickr user fabries. The brilliant orange and gold of the monks’ robes stands out against the earth tones of the garden. It must be nice to be so close to nature, so at peace.
"Muckross Lake Bog" in Ireland, photographed by flicker user xm19pg76. Wetlands like these give me a sense of ancient, untouched peace and calmness. I’ve been fascinated with bogs lately, due to their ability to preserve dead bodies. When I saw a picture of the Tollund Man, excavated in Denmark, I was blown away by how life-like he looked. His body, like most bog bodies, looks more like an iron statue than mummified human remains.
The Avenue of the Baobab Trees in Madagascar, photographed by Pascal Maitre, National Geographic. A forest of unimaginably enormous trees. To me, they look like ancient elephant legs. I can imagine a fantasy world where these are partially hollowed out and made into multi-storied buildings.
A view of Mount Merapi from the Borobudur Monument in Indonesia, photographed by Greg Shaw via National Geographic. The morning sun hides behind Mount Merapi and a few loitering clouds. High above the thick fog and shadowy treetops, a statue of Buddha watches over the world.
Nyiragongo Lava in Congo, photographed by Carsten Peter, National Geographic. Horrifying hellfire - I should be able to resist, but I feel the strong urge to get closer. I suppose that’s why the phrase “like a moth to flames” is so apt.
A little fun fact for you: you can’t actually sink into lava. If you were to fall into it, you would float on the top. Additionally, if you were to fall into lava, you wouldn’t be wondering, “Why am I not sinking?” because you’d be in excruciating pain.
"An Angel Appears to Balaam (Num 23:15-35)," an illustration by Gustave Doré for his illustrated edition of the Bible. Doré is a master of light and shadow, and the mood conveyed in this image is that of sobering awe.
A dust tornado in Djibouti, Africa, photographed by Jeremy Lock via National Geographic. This scene is straight out of the Bible - Exodus 13:21, in fact:
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and stole their papers from them and laughed at their futile attempts to retrieve their homework.
All blasphemy aside, the tornado seems to strike the man with heavenly precision.
The Wood Church at Qassiarsuk in Greenland, photographed by Peter Essick, National Geographic. A heathen man’s gift to his Christian wife: a quaint wooden church on a farm, with endless grass to tread upon and infinite grey to walk beneath. Gentle and sweet, but in an odd way, oppressive.
The Merced River in the Yosemite National Park, California, photographed by Michael Melford, National Geographic. A moment of silence, stillness, and sadness captured forever. The lingering snow and the impenetrable mist add to the chilling mood.
A Balinese cremation ceremony, photographed by Maurizio Peddis (username: peo pea) via flickr. Bodies are cremated in wooden effigies, often shaped like bulls or other animals, to emancipate the souls from their bodies. It is a final, spectacular act of destruction and release, leading to rebirth.