“Torii” and the Sacrum-Profane Equilibrium


A torii is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred (according to Wikipedia).
After a long night partying at a friend’s house, somewhere in a remote Romanian village, faraway from the agitation and frenetic pulse of the city, after singing by the fire and watching the stars while lying on my back in the fresh grass full of dew, after everybody else had fallen asleep, I stood there awake, wrapped in a blanket and looking into the remains of the fire as they wood slowly gave away its last shine and the coal tried to shine on but the creeping sunrise was slowly extinguishing.
And then, one of my friends asked (half dozed by booze, I’ll admit) : “What state of matter does fire represent?”
The correct chemistry answer was: “A mixture of hot gases, vapors and, if the heat is enough, ionized gases a.k.a plasma”
He replied,in a somewhat unconvinced way: “Is that what fire means to you?”

Obviously, the scientific answer was not the one he was looking for. And then it struck me.
It was about everything else. The outing, the fire, fun and good company, the Sun rising beyond the eastern hills… to us, it was a return to innocence, something sacred in a bond to our ancestral origins and traditions, to the greater meaning in the wind’s whispers and the magic in the Nightingale’s songs.
I emerged from my protective cover, picked up my camera and, barefoot and half asleep, like through an autumn reverie, I started climbing towards the highest eastern hill for the upcoming sunrise. Grass felt so soft, air started to warm up and the sky filled with pastel colors that glimmered through the thin clouds.
The road lead under these gigantic power poles that carried the energy from a Hydroelectric power plant some 100 kilometers away. The buzzing of the lines, as the  10,000 volts passed through theme brought an even more ethereal feeling as if an energetic barrier had been set between the green waves and the human civilization residing beyond it.

So, I passed and started shooting as the Sun was slowly climbing the horizon. I can’t tell for how I have been there but when I turned towards the poles I saw four of my friends taking a walk (probably in a desire to catch the sunrise).

They stopped under the massive structure as I did, staring in wonder and that is when the photograph happened.

I chose this title as a reminder of what should be kept truly sacred in our hearts: the purity, the simplicity and innocence of all things in the world. No religious fanaticism, no rituals, no obligations.

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