The barn is the quintessential piece of New England architecture—the Ansel Adams photograph commonly published that is not from the west coast is of a barn in New Hampshire. These structures reflect simultaneously the area’s vibrant agricultural tradition and its decline. Click on the image for a larger view.
Peterborough, New Hampshire, was home to a marvelous marionette theater (don’t call them puppets). Started by the retired newspaper publisher Ted Leach, this theater put on classic opera in the town and around the world. Ted is shown backstage manipulating Mimì from the opera La Bohème. In 1999, a fire destroyed the 155 year old Baptist Church that was home to the company. Click on the image for a larger view.
Mt. Monadnock, located in southern New Hampshire, is known as the most climbed mountain in America. At 3,165 ft or 965m, it is not the highest mountain in New England, but, having no other mountain of similar elevation near it, it is the most prominent feature in the area. The name is believe to be derived from the Abenaki and is thought to mean “mountain standing alone.” Mt. Monadnock gives its name to the surrounding region. Click on the image for a larger view.
The trail between temples 11 and 12 was enveloped in fog the day we travelled it. The mountain path followed a forested ridge. Then, strangely, the dirt trail ended in a flight of stone steps. As we climbed, a figure materialized from the trees.
We had reached Jyouren hermitage, a bangai, an unnumbered temple, one of over a hundred such places on the 88 Sacred Places of Shikoku Pilgrimage. The statue is of Shugyo Daishi. This is not the image of Kobo Daishi, the saint pilgrims follow and the one that attained enlightenment, but the man that was seeking that enlightenment.
The tree behind the statue was said to have been planted by Kobo Daishi when, in a dream, he had a vision of the Buddha Dainishi-nyorai. Click on the image for a larger view.
The pilgrim to the Eighty-eight Sacred Places of Shikoku Pilgrimage carries a small book, nokyocho, in which the seal of each of the temples is inscribed, in this case, temple 84. It is one of the most important records of the journey and is treasured as a sacred object. If the pilgrim undertakes another pilgrimage, the same book is used with a new seal being inscribed over the previous ones. Pilgrims that have completed the path multiple times have pages covered red and black from the number of inscriptions. Click on the image for a larger view.