Its as if an alien race descended to this place a thousand years ago and built small monuments to their civilization all over the landscape. The monuments are at times towering over the skyline and at other times barely visible amongst the parched brush and trees. There are many thousands of structures as far as your eyes can see. This is the real Burma and the Burma that rivals the greatest archeological sites of the world including Angkor Wat. Yet with all the glory and spectacle of the landscape you are alone and at one with these pieces of history. There are no other sounds around you in the baked sun. There is only bird song and cicada’s humming in the distance.
Today while exploring on foot, away from the road, I discovered a small set of temples that appeared untouched through the ages. Alone in one of these ancient places I gazed on the face of a Buddha statue and was startled when a small squirrel darted past my view. Soon I heard the flapping of wings as a bird flew about the upper recess of the internal structure. In this moment of solitude the very act of breathing and listening became a meditative state.
Spirituality is the great asset and power of this place. It is in every tree and rock that you see in the vastness of the land. In Bagan in the northern reaches of Burma I also felt as though I am a pioneer and a true explorer of the modern age. The feelings are often so similar to the ones I had in Antarctica. There are the same feelings of wonder and peace in this hot land, just as there were in the cold land at the bottom of the earth not so long ago. The feeling is a simple privilege and gratitude that such wondrous places are accessible to us all. That should we dare to dream … we could see all the fantasies of mankind laid bare before us.