While Buddhist monks chanted and tossed paper prayers up to the blue sky, ranchers and farmers whooped, hollered and sprayed cheap liquor over the two dozen people gathered at the edge of Qinghai Lake. Last July an extended family of ethnic Tibetans were praying for a successful harvest and green pastures for their livestock.
View an iPad friendly version of this 28 second audio slide show.
Monks carefully placed prayer flags to capture the breezes at this tiny holy place, a row of low stupas sprouting from the rocky and treeless soil where green grass, endless sky and brilliant blue lake merged.
We had spotted the multiple colors while speeding by on the highway, and when we followed the rutted track toward the lake, the only people around were two dirty children willing to pose for coins atop a horse. I wandered over to the fluttering flags, and within minutes the celebrants arrived, monks and civilians pouring out of 4 x 4 pickup trucks.
Located in a depression of the Tibetan Plateau 10,000 feet above sea level, saline Qinghai Lake has no outlet and is China’s largest. Qinghai means “Blue/Teal Sea” in Chinese, and also names this sparsely populated province that contains only about 6 million of China's 1.3 billion people.
Like the few lines we scribble and mail home describing our vacation travels, this Talking Picture Postcard, a brief five photographs and 28 seconds of field-recorded sound, is my way of saying “The weather is fine, having a great time, which you were here.”
And also, "have a great harvest!"
View more Miami multimedia photography at my portfolio site.