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In the concrete jungle of Taipei, capitol city of Taiwan, I imagine residents often long for nature.
Like, deeply long.
Tapping into this profound longing, florist Alfie Lin accepted a commission from the Beautiful Touch Association to fancy up a Taipei city bus with the trappings of a real, live forest.
“I hope the public will feel that it’s a beautiful and interesting experience,” he told the Agence France-Presse. “They can smell the scent of summer on the bus and see the vibrant green plants to feel messages from nature.”
The forest bus is taking a trial run this month, but Lin hopes it will become a permanently rooted fixture of the city. Passengers like Celine Wei hope so, too. “I feel happy and relaxed on the bus smelling the flowers and plants,” she says. “I hope it can become a regular service on a double-decker. It would become something special to Taipei.”
If you can’t bathe in an actual forest (read my post on shinrin-yoku), a mobile forest might just soothe a city dweller’s wild side.
Take a quick virtual ride on the forest bus and share your thoughts:
“When I walk through a quiet forest in the middle of the night full of fireflies, I feel like I am in a magical forest. I see fireflies being a mere reflection of stars under the Milky Way, I feel connected to everything in the universe. They are communicating to me. I am listening …”
These are the poetic words of photographer Radim Schreiber.
Schreiber was born in the Czech Republic, but now lives in a fairyland called … Iowa.
Yup. The Hawkeye State. Corn fields and combines.
Sometimes, it takes a fresh perspective to see the ordinary as extraordinary.
“When I first moved to Iowa, I was mesmerized by the abundance and brightness of fireflies during summer nights. During my childhood in the Czech Republic, I had never seen anything like that,” he recounts on his website, FireflyExperience.org. “It was in 2003, and I was on the plane when I felt inspired. So, I made a sketch on a paper; it was a glowing firefly on a silhouetted blade of grass, with the moon in the background and the dark-blue sky. Since then I had this image in my head, waiting for the right time to materialize.”
Taking advantage of recent advancements in the low-light capabilities of camera equipment, Schreiber began to photograph fireflies in 2008. “The most challenging aspect of firefly photography is the fleeting nature of fireflies. When they glow, they like to fly or move. They never seem to be still for very long, and so I struggle to quickly compose my shots. It was sometimes almost complete darkness and I took the photo right when the firefly illuminated … and all that when being bitten by other insects. This truly shows my patience,” he says with a smile.
Perhaps even more delightful than his photos, though, is Schreiber’s Firefly Experience, which you are about to experience right here.
But before you do, be warned: if you are far from firefly country or have never known the magic of fireflies in person, you will pine. Yearn, even. Fireflies are just that fantastic.
Willing to take the risk? Then, immerse yourself in the Firefly Experience …