Saturday, September 13, 2008

Celebrating Miracles of the Moon

The moon has made us who we are, and we never know what miracles it has in store for us. One such miracle is that the moon and its mysteries has brought me out of the silence into the luminescent presence of new inspiration. In the magic of this full moon I begin a new cycle of discovery.

September 14 is a day of celebration for the gifts of the moon, for Fall harvests, for family unity, and spiritual renewal. In China it is Zhongqiu Jie, in Japan, Hounen-Odori, and in Korea, Chuseok.

Tonight on the Eve of Chuseok, the Donghwa Cultural Foundation invited an intimate group of participants to honor Chuseok by learning to make rice cakes from Korean chef Karen Ahn, exploring the culture, listening to Korean traditional music performed by renowned musicians Kwonhyung Lee on the Daegeum, and Korean National Asset Ewha Professor Jaesook Moon on drum, and sharing in a Tea Ceremony celebrated by Young Cho. The entire event was graciously hosted by the Executive Director and composer, Youngmi Ha, ably assisted by the Program Coordinator Eunji Shim.

As the tea ceremony created a harmonious juncture
, a young woman sat next to me that I knew from the announcements was from the family of Korean musicians performing for Choseok. She, is also a Korean Traditional Musician, a Gayageum performer. As we talked, her presence was remarkably calm and insightful, but she also seemed trapped in the dilemma of youth. Steeped in tradition, she is a consummate artist, building on the foundations of the past. Yet, her passion inspires her to pursue the art and practice of her time and generation. She seemed conflicted about the path she should take. I sensed that success comes to her without effort, irresistibly, as she appeared as charismatic as the moon itself.

It wasn't until later, when I returned home and googled her name that I discovered I had been talking to Miss Korea, Ha-Nui (Honey) Lee. I am glad I didn't know this at the time we met. Such titles and celebrity sometimes create barriers too steep to bridge.

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