sacred circles

Chiru of the High Tibet was picked by the Junior Library Guild for their fall book club list, which means a few thousand libraries will be getting a copy. That's pretty awesome. They asked me to write something about my connection to the book, which made me remember an incident that happened in college, one of those that probably informed more of my life after that then I realized till I sat down and thought about it.

Many years ago when I was studying illustration at Rhode Island School of Design I started seeing strange men in long red and yellow robes around campus. I followed them and found them in the museum, sitting cross-legged on a platform, carefully tapping colored sand out of metal pipes to make intricate patterns in a very large circle. I went every day to watch them, and learned that they were Tibetan monks making a sand mandala. After days and days of this work, they cheerfully swept it all into a pile and threw it in the river. This was when I first heard of Tibet, and where I fell in love with the culture, the art, and the landscape, which I soon began studying. Painting those landscapes and making mandalas for Chiru, alongside the magnificent words of Jacqueline Briggs Martin, was a tremendous experience.

Video of a similar mandala-making event at UVM, and beautiful photos in the Adrian Oxbrow link above.