My trip to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia came on the heels of a trip to Afghanistan where I toured prisons, traveled through war ravaged towns, and flew over wide expanses of desert land that played host to twenty years of invasions and destructive wars. There are generations in Afghanistan who know no other way of life.
With a three day turn around, I found myself in Southeast Asia, a land of green that has seen its fair share of conflict. However, in this lush land, the jungle grows over the evidence of those wars. The air, heavy with moisture, acts as a salve, a healing agent. Those conflicts are not forgotten, but they are not the lens through which everything else is understood.
It was an abrupt transition, from desert war zone to tropical place of peace. As I explored, I was struck by the tranquility and mystery of the temples. Juxtaposed with the way religion has been used in Afghanistan to degrade and destroy, the Khmer temples stand as evidence of the human inclination to create rather than destroy.