As I came around the back side of one particular house on the edge of Inle Lake with it’s explosion of purple water lilies, in the country of Myanmar, my eyes caught site of her, a woman who I assumed lived in the house, seated on her back porch, chopping garlic, under cover from the hot mid-day sun.
I was quick to greet her with one of those awkward, hello’s as in “Oh hello”, (but spoken in that nervous tone of “I bet you are wondering who I am and what the heck am I doing in YOUR yard?”), but she was even quicker to extend her hand, motioning me, with a big smile, to come and sit with her, out of the hot sun. It was her confident smile that caused no hesitation on my part in joining her on that back porch, a smile that also told me I was in the presence of a woman whose inner contentment exuded a peace that probably most of us could only long for.
Since neither of us spoke each other’s language, we resorted to hand gestures, including the pointing at the camera then to her face, the ‘may I take your portrait’ gesture.
The extremely soft light under her porch was perfect in its ability to convey the profound peace that emanated so freely from this woman’s face as well as eye’s.
It was only later, after locating my driver/translator, and after he briefly visited with her, that I learned that she was born in this very house and that she would soon die in this very house. “Grateful, so grateful for the life I’ve had!” was the answer she gave when I asked how she felt upon learning only recently that she had an inoperable brain tumor and was given just three months to live.
Nikon D500, Nikkor 18-300mm, at 102mm, F/[email protected]/200 sec. 400 ISO
You Keep Shooting - Bryan F Peterson
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