Saturday, June 16, 2012

Witnessing the "Moses Miracle"

Yesterday I wrote about the awabuki sweet viburnum "chindo"
that we have growing here in the small woods behind our house.
We love them for their glossy green leaves, their tall growth habit,
 and their ability to provide both a habitat for birds and a living privacy screen for us.

When I was researching  Jindo, South Korea,
 the island the chindo viburnum was originally collected from,
 I learned that Jindo was the home of a natural phenomenon
called the "Moses Miracle" by western tourists.
It is sometimes referred to as the "Miracle Sea Road" or the "Magical Sea Way."
And the ancestors of our chindo viburnum plants have witnessed this miracle each year.

According to, every year in spring to early summer,
the southern Yellow Sea, in Korea called the South Sea,  parts for about an hour,
creating a muddy sea road about 3 miles long and a narrow 44 yards wide
between Jindo and a small island called Modo.

The web site Visit Korea describes the legend of the parted sea:
The sea way appeared in answer to the prayers of an old woman named Bbyong 
who had become separated from her family and friends
when dangerous tigers overran Jindo island and everyone fled to Modo Island. 
She was frightened and lonely,
and prayed to Yongwang, the god of the sea, for their safe return.
Yongwang answered her prayers and parted the sea the next morning.
Her family and friends returned on the miracle sea road, under the light of a rainbow.

I was hoping to find a video that shows the actual parting,
but the change of tides is almost imperceptible.
Here's a video that uses time-lapse photography to show the sea part
as people, many in bright yellow boots, walk on the sea road.
The contrast of brightly colored rain coats and yellow boots
against the gray of the sea and sky is as vivid as the rainbow
that welcomed Bbyong's loved ones home.

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