And then Christmas was over.

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Purify by fire…elimination of last year’s evil. The municipality arranged for a community Christmas tree burning. Presto! Last year’s evil is up in smoke.

Every country and culture has a different interpretation of Christmas, trees and Santa Claus.

After the passing of the Christmas and the New Year, our local neighborhood, in the Jungfrau Region of the Swiss Alps, furnished these three image examples.

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Saint Nikolas prepares to distribute bread, while his companion, Schmutzli prepares to sweep away what remains of this past year’s evil.

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And if some evil escapes Schmutzli, numerous helpers are prepared to scare it away.

Have no fear, Happy New Year!

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Recharge

Fog.

This is not fog.

What is fresh air?

Settled science? Humans and animals–oxygen in, carbon dioxide out. Plants–carbon dioxide in, oxygen out.

In cold weather those are small clouds coming out of our nose when we breathe. 

Does the earth breathe out clouds like we do?

Mountains, creeks and lakes come together with temperatures just above freezing and a light drizzle from cloudy skies…that makes my day.

The play of air, water and earth can be visualized best by observing the visual interplay of low level clouds–they appear and disappear with a rhythm and frequency that reminds me of my own breaths.

On a calm day, the very low clouds come and go as if breaths from a huge giant–the earth itself.

What is fresh air if it is not air that has been filtered by plants …or filtered by earth…or filtered by both.

Think about it the next time you inhale a deep breath of fresh air.

Think about it the next time you exhale a cloud.

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Clouds often arise from creek beds like this.

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Cloud arising from adjacent forest.

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Clouds arising from the earth via forests and creeks have a scaled up size and time span not dissimilar in proportion to small individual human exhales. They appear…

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 …and they disappear.

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For me, the action is at the cloud edges.

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Inhale…exhale…repeat…more slowly…more deeply…recharge is real.

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The unpredictable dynamic mystifies.

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.

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.

 

Seasoning—is it right?

Spring, summer, fall and winter…all have their individual tastes and arrive each year with their own uniquenesses.

In the northern hemisphere, now in 2018, we are making the transition between fall and winter. All of you have your own memories and interpretations of these seasonings. I doubt there is a right or wrong.

But the other day, the mountains around my home revealed a certain kind of smorgasbord seasoning, grace to elevation changes. What? What do I mean to say?

On one day, I experienced a very unique variety of seasonings. Full blown winter and full blown fall, completely independent of each other, within less than an hour of each other, again grace to their elevational difference. And, the best for last, something very special above them all.

It is all about the landscape. I hope you can enjoy these images.

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Fall landscape

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Winter landscape

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Heavenly landscape

Probably don’t…

 …want to hear about this stroke update. That’s ok because you don’t have to read it. I want to put words to what I felt today.

About 18 months ago I was in bed, a vegetable in a windowless and clockless emergency ward. Tubes everywhere. Nothing that worked before was working. 

Gradually things sank in, internal clouds started lifting and I started thinking. Still unable to get out of bed. If only I could speak again. If only I could clean myself again. I dreamed if only I could walk in the country…oh such a dream. Then the rehab began. Then the hard discipline became essential. Little step by little step.

Below is where I walked today. I almost melted with joy and happiness. Wish fulfilled.  So many to thank.

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Who wouldn’t want to take this walk?