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SHERMAN: Prayer flags of Nepal focus of museum film

By LOLA SHERMAN (NC Times): Ron Ranson of Leucadia will take the road less-traveled —- actually he’ll travel on what isn’t a road at all, but a scrape in the cliff punctuated by an occasional flimsy rope bridge.

For his last few trips to mystical Nepal, Ranson has eschewed the “ordinary,” like a hike up to Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. Ranson notes that in one month alone more than 10,000 people registered at a certain spot on that route.

“That kind of trekking never appealed to me,” Ranson said.

No, his treks —- “10 days in and 10 days out” —– have taken him to areas so remote that every bite of food and bit of equipment has to be carried with him via human porters.

This year, those porters happily turned into a video crew.

Ranson and his adult son, Tim, filmed some documentaries, including a six-minute video on the prayer flags of Nepal. That video will be shown continuously during the Prayer Flag Project Oct. 14-Dec. 30 at the Oceanside Museum of Art, 704 Pier View Way.

A preview reception is scheduled from 4 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 13. It costs $10 for the public but is free for members and prayer-flag artists.

“We’ve got about a hundred (flags) from all over the world —- from Sweden and Australia and all over the United States,” according to Danielle Susalla Deery, the museum’s director of exhibits and communications.

She added in a news release that “Prayer flags have been used in Tibet for centuries as a means to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom. Traditionally, they are woodblock prints printed with text and images that are hung outdoors in high places where the wind passes through the flags carrying the depicted blessings to all people.

Flags are most commonly found in five colors: blue, white, red, green and yellow, representing the five elements.”

Ranson said that, although the flags are from Nepal, birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the northern part of that mountainous country is influenced by Tibetan Buddhism.

The flags fly even “in the most incredibly poor” communities, he said. “People who have nothing to spend on themselves, spend money on prayer flags.”

On his first trip to Nepal —- a stint with the Peace Corps from 1964-66 —- Ranson taught high-school and college English in a town 70 miles from the Nepali capital of Kathmandu.

At the time, Ranson, a graduate of the then-College of the Pacific in Stockton, was one year into his master-of-fine-arts-in-theater graduate program at UCLA when he took a two-year leave.

He returned to Nepal for a month-long visit in 1973 and got married there.

In 2003, Ranson retired as a professor of theater design at UCSD. He has lived in Encinitas since 1979 and served two terms on the city’s Arts Commission.

He has gone back to Nepal again in 2009, with his second wife, Nikola, an English-born psychotherapist, and in 2010 with both his sons, Tim general manager of the Las Olas Mexican restaurant in Carlsbad, and Andrew of Baltimore.

This year, he returned again with Tim to make the films.

“It was just amazing, growing up for 30 years and hearing about such a far-away place with monsoons and tigers and then actually being there,” Tim Ranson said. “It was surreal.”

“Sometimes,” he said, “you don’t know where you are —- the 6th century?”

He said that filming the prayer flags “there was such a peace I’ve never felt before” and if everyone in the world felt like that, there would be no more conflict.

Pupils at Paul Ecke Central School in Encinitas collected shoes for Ranson to take to Nepal, after he provided a slide presentation depicting children barefoot in the snow.

Besides the continuous video for the museum, Ron and Tim Ranson have filmed an hour-long DVD and six-minute meditative apps for mobile devices.

They’ll present a “general look at Nepal” at 11 a.m. Dec. 8 at the museum.

Boys & Girls Club gala: Longtime community leader Mary Steiger is hoping for a sell-out Saturday evening at the gala in the museum to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Oceanside Boys & Girls Club and commend its work serving 1,400 youngsters daily..

Tickets, $200, are available at or by calling 760-433-8920 .

For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

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