Herons and Monks by Elizabeth Zetlin (9 minutes)
This meditative film juxtaposes two species, each mesmerizing in their own way. An eighty-four year old monk from Bhutan creates a medicine sand mandala, while great blue herons and egrets from the Gulf of Mexico stalk their prey.
Birds of myth and elegance, herons are at home on earth, in air and water. They are a symbol of good luck and patience, and the heron’s harsh cry was believed, by the ancient Egyptians, to announce the beginning of time.
In the Buddhist tradition, the creation and dissolution of a sand mandala, made from millions of coloured particles of sand, is a metaphor for the impermanence of life. “Formed of a traditional prescribed iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants.”*
Herons and monks – both temporary and timeless – is an exploration of stillness, patience, gathering, and releasing. A consecration of the sacredness of all life. Keira McArthur’s haunting soundscape of cello and voice accompanies a lyrical narration by poet/filmmaker Liz Zetlin.