▲ Sara Oreum is beautiful in any season, but particularly so when capped with winter’s snow. Photos by Kim Hong Gu
Sara Oreum stands 1,324.7 meters above sea level, and rises for 150 meters to embrace the crater lake on its summit. Legends of Sara Oreum cherishing its frozen crater derive from prehistoric days. Allowing only occasional glimpses, the snow flowers glittering in the sunshine scatter flakes in the air, like waves of glittering water.
The immaculate snow-white winter reveals its true power on Sara Oreum and the depth of life is felt in its waist-high snow. The elegant look of Baekrokdam crater commands viewers to be humble and revere nature. Its lake, frozen to the bottom, allows one to see the reflection of one’s mind. A viewer feels untainted love from the snow flowers blooming on each and every tree branch, resembling a white feast.
Sara Oreum is known as the No. 1 meridian spot for burial sites, or yin houses, in Jeju, according to feng shui theory. The vein that originates from the Baekrokdam crater of Mount Halla passes through Sara Oreum, Seongneol Oreum and a number of other oreum to the east until it reaches the island of Udo. The energy from Mount Halla circulates the earth’s energy and enlivens all creatures that breathe and inhabit the many oreum.
All of Jeju has this auspicious energy because the entire island is the beneficiary of the energy from Mount Halla. Leave your body to the hands of the mountain and then you will realize. Let your thoughts be with Sara Oreum and you will know. The dreams and overwhelming feelings of happiness all lie in the bosom of nature.
The scene from the southern cliff of Sara Oreum is a rarity. In addition to Baekrokdam crater on the west, Mount Halla imposes its grandeur along the flow of the southern ridgeline. Far off to the south, the ocean off Seogwipo is in sight. Jejigi Oreum and Seop Island look like brothers. Seoneol Oreum, Nongo Oreum, Bori Oreum and Dongsu-ak can be seen to the southeast. Turning to the east, Muljangori Oreum, Eohu Oreum, Bulkandee, Teyukjang and Ssalsonjang Oreum can dimly be seen in the panorama and Gaeori Oreum is clearly visible. To the north, Heukbulgeun Oreum and Dol Oreum are located.
In 1988, a bush fire started on the southeastern slope of Sara Oreum and burnt a large portion of woodland. The area is now filled with knee-high shrubs of Sasa bamboo. All four seasons are beautiful on Sara Oreum. The yellow-green of spring casts shadows on its lake, bringing the gift of nature’s rebirth. In the summer, it is refreshing to gaze at the scenery - a creation of the dark greenery harmonizing with the shapes of floating clouds on the surface of the lake water. Autumn portends the end of the cycle as nature returns to one with the lake, reminiscent of how far the seasons have come.
Winter is the guard to protect the impregnated nature of hard lives. It blows its white breath over all creatures, keeping them safe inside the lake. The frozen lake is unutterably calm and peaceful. The oreum stands as always, mysterious and beautiful.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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