Corner Store

I grew up on the East Side of Detroit, post WW2, near the City Airport. Then, Detroit was booming, steel and autos, proud and popular. At the corner of our block, there was a store where, if I had a note from my mum, I could buy her a package of cigarettes. The real grocery shopping though, was done with my dad’s car taking us to Kroger super market about a mile away. And that is how I grew up for some 25 years. Groceries came from a well kept super market. Cigarettes and spur of the moment snacks from the corner store.

Then I found myself living in North Africa. No super markets and lots of corner stores, called bakals. We bought almost all our groceries for daily sustenance at the bakal. Convenient and efficient.

Time travel to the present, in Switzerland–no bakals, no corner stores but there, to serve local small populations, are local mini supermarkets–downsized versions of supermarkets. Very convenient. They are the smallest in scale of stores increasing in size as the surrounding populations increase in size. Yes, there are supermarkets. Yes, there are regional sized superstores.

Yet, even with all that, there exists these days an annual excitement like we use to have 50 years ago in Detroit when we would go downtown once a year for a special shopping festival–like the Christmas season. Here, once a year, end of the harvest season, in the capital city of Bern, there is an onion festival. There are two images in this post. Above is the 2018 festival itself. Below is the content of a shopping bag from the festival. The shopping bag collection of goods can not be found in local stores now, or fifty years ago, or in North African bakals.

Not bragging–just amazed at the range of goods. Pain d’épices from France. Onions and garlic from Germany and France. Decorative garlic, onions and peppers from Switzerland. Honeys and blood orange marmalade from Southern Italy and magenbrot from Switzerland. 

Holiday season is upon us like no corner store could imagine.

Best wishes to all.

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Shopping bag content.

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Alpine Goldener Autumn

I better post this before a serious snowfall. The colorful golden beauty of the first image is that it occurs above the tree line, above 2,000 meters elevation.

The lift, for access to these areas, has already been closed for maintenance prior to the upcoming ski season. So, I screen captured the image from a 24/7/365 webcam, at Jungfrau.ch.

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This golden color arises after the evening temperatures regularly drop below freezing. The color will be hidden any day now when the first snowfall arrives. This is a view of the Grosse Scheidegg pass (2,300 meters elevation) just east of Grindelwald.

The last two images are from the Japanese Ginkgo. It holds its bright yellow gold leaves until the first major frost–then the leaves drop almost all at once. At 600 meters elevation, the first frost arrived this week.

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Ginkgo biloba at 600 meters elevation 20Nov2018, Interlaken, Switzerland.

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Goldener Herbst.

Rising

I am obsessed with the magic of clouds rising from nothing.

But what is that nothing?

Imagine what you might see, feel, hear underneath that dark, 100 foot tall forest canopy as a cloud just begins to emerge from around you?

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This mixed evergreen and deciduous forest has a canopy that is more than a ten story building, 30 meters (100feet) tall. On the forest floor, it is dark. And the floor is not level. Beneath the canopy is  a steeply varied topography–very exciting–filled with surprising variety of flora and fauna–if you are quiet and patient.