A 31Dec2021 Surprise

Don’t we all need a pleasant surprise? I was given one that I’d like to share with anyone who derives pleasure from the landscape.

Watching the sky in mountainous landscapes in my neighborhood, I am always struggling with clouds or fog. At what point does fog become a cloud? And do clouds ever become fog?

How can I even ask these questions? 

Because in steep mountainous terrain along a river valley whose source, not far away, is in the above tree line, high mountain pass glaciers, I regularly see the life cycle of clouds–the speed of cloud formation and dissolution. 

And that for me is excitement. 

Why? Because the speed of cloud is slower than human patience of vision. 

How often can we look at a cloud long enough to see its swirling edges grow or decline–and then until the cloud disappears or generates from nothing to a huge presence.

Today, 31Dec2021, I had an unexpected present handed to me by the local mountain landscape. 

I saw for the very first time–what I could for certainty define–ground fog. It began last night at sunset. Then in the middle of the night it grew while I slept. By morning, we were enveloped in it. It wasn’t deep but it was thick. 

In the clear sky sunshine, I took a walk to explore how the ground fog moved (more of a slow-motion slither, an exhale, a flow) around the valley floor. 

There is something special about seeing in real life, real time, the life cycle of clouds and in this case ground fog. 

I go through the whole gaia thing and the science of temp/moisture/wind. But in the end, I am convinced there is some thing alive in this life cycle. Are the mountains breathing in and out? I don’t know. My weak speculation is ignorant at best. But I feel what I feel. All I can do is write about what goes on in the landscape. It is all around each and every one of us. And it is mysterious…arcane.

Real snow

I wrote previously about winter colors, snow line and black and white.

The most attractive black and white in our landscape is the magpie, the Eurasian magpie, Pica pica. They have an large, active nest nearby in the top of a huge linden tree, Tilia cordata. When the first winter snowfall arrived the nest got so snowed in…it was no longer visible, neither were the magpies.

Where are the magpies?

Winter colors

…mountain, sky, forest and lake…

Gray sky? Yes.

White snow? Yes.

But the color of the lake? Look carefully and compare with the summer photo taken at the same time of day of the same mountain.

How cold is the ‘winter blue’ of the lake?
How warm and rich the mountain, sky and forest colors? And the lake, how to describe the color? Refreshing.

The above landscapes provide me daily inspirations to write about the landscape architecture past times of Christopher Janus, known to his friends as CJ, and his landscape encounters in Tangier Gardens. Please visit my Tangier Gardens landing page to sign up for launch discounts and more info on CJ’s north west Africa landscape searches for portals.

***As of NOV2021***PLEASE NOTE***FLAHERTYLANDSCAPE HAS MOVED ITS URL TO A NEW DOMAIN–https://flahertylandscape.com CONTENT THE SAME ONLY A NEW URL. PLEASE CLICK THAT LINK.

Butterscotch–once again

It is that time of year.

It’s here. There is no doubt.

What’s this?

It’s the autumn.

We don’t have those North American attention grabbing sugar maples or even their cousins around here.

Rising out of the butterscotch sea. From the lower valley pastures to the mid mountain mixed deciduous and evergreen up to the near mountain summit pure coniferous forests. Autumn calls.
Some might say how drab! Yellows and browns. C’mon man.
But honestly…these yellows and browns in our landscape offer something more…a flavor…a sweetness. A pleasurable sweetness. A lasting enjoyment that comes…from a flavor to a taste…to become softly in our ear…a kind word. Extrasensual.
I like it–like a butterscotch candy…the flavor lasts and lasts.

Awed

I can not turn away from my evergreen source of inspiration. It is a landscape that continuously surprises me with its overwhelming awe, its raw power and a beauty that leaves me speechless —harmonic beauty. And it always makes me ask questions–about transportation infrastructure, water resources, land management. I love it. Refreshing it is.

The big, broad spreading beech. These are very uncomfortable times. Do I fight or become a medical experiment? We all have that choice, or do we? I take walks–and I find shelter–like this beech tree on a river bank. It says shelter. Relief. Relief? Relief from what? Why do I need shelter? Twenty months of health statistics anomalies. And I haven’t seen anyone collapse on the street since that Wuhan play actor almost two years ago. Yet everything I read or see on TV says I should be part of big pharma/political experiments. Yeah, I need relief. And yeah, that beech tree offered it. I looked long, hard and lovingly at that strong beech and its broad spreading protective canopy. I felt the shelter; and for a long moment I felt relief from the non-stop tyrannical tensions.
I pushed on. I walked further and further and became awestruck. A landscape vista worked its magic on me. The beauty so overwhelmed that I needed to sit. Dizzy with beauty I had become. More relief–this time with inspiration.

Romantic landscape? Definitely. Evergreen inspiration. Evergreen succour.

Listen to ‘Mys Alpli’

I had to re-post this because it sings in my heart–source of evergreen inspiration.

Edelwyss-Starnen sing the last verse of Mys Alpli. High in the Berner Oberland, an alp is a field, a pasture, a productive piece of mountain land where animals can be grazed. Thus in the background of this you can hear the bells of the sheep, goats and cows. Available at itunes.apple.com/us/artist/jodelg…rnen/id329166348

Mid July in the Berner Oberland Jungfrau Region–it is that time of year when the highest alps receive the animals for the ‘spring’ grasses.

I met a researcher in a Stubbe last week. He was researching linkages between humans and the landscape. He shared with me the following photos of yodelers.

…silvery…

Yodelers in the Jungfrau Region of the Berner Oberland in Switzerland–in the yodel, a human can hear and feel the landscape.

…silver…

Yodelers demonstrate their respect for the landscape in all aspects of their lives–arts, crafts–and the richness of the detail recalls the richness of their feelings for the landscape. Stewards, custodians of the landscape–that is only the beginning in the Jungfrau Region of the Berner Oberland.

He noted that these yodelers are not hired professionals or foreign workers. They are humans whose families have lived in this landscape for centuries.

He posited that there are rootlets of some strange consistency that transcend the lifetimes of humans. Those rootlets, he said, were channels through which a music travels from the landscape through the voices of the yodelers.

Each verse of a song glorifies a different aspect of the relationship between humans and the landscape. And each chorus…well…the chorus is the landscape.

Link to the original post in 2016.

Sun and fun

…for millennia…Tangier has been a nexus of Mediterranean, African and European cultures…a classic melting pot that is still on the boil.

Christopher Janus, CJ, had visited Morocco once with his mom when he was only seven–he had memories. He remembered sun and fun. Now nearly two decades later he, studying landscape architecture at university, was planning a design study term abroad. This, however was to become a different journey. The Moroccan tourism advertising was for sun and fun. That’s what he hoped for.

He had been six years full time at university. He needed a break. Sun and fun on the Mediterranean in Morocco? Great Moroccan markets in the pedestrian-only medinas? What was not to like?

When CJ crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and arrived in Tangier, the cultural complexity…the mists of cultural history…the cultural reality fog overwhelmed him. His carefully planned design study disappeared into a thickly uncertain maze. In this journey, he was blinded. He couldn’t find any portals.

His attempts to work through that maze is the basis for my upcoming novel, Tangier Gardens.

Chocolate Gardens

KingdomMorocco1of6

…for millennia…Tangier has been a nexus of Mediterranean, African and European cultures…a classic melting pot that is still on the boil.

Readers…by now you know that my blog, flahertylandscape, is all about plants and people–landscape journeys. Sounds fair and safe enough; but what I am about to share with you goes beyond strange.

Anyone who has worked in a garden–suffered blisters and callouses in a garden for fruit, vegetables, flowers, medicine–knows there is something more in those gardens. This is for you.

A short while ago, I prepared to record the revised draft of one of my novels to perform a sentence by sentence development edit. To my surprise, as I set up a folder for the audio, I found an old 30minute .aif file entitled Chocolate Gardens.

The Chocolate Gardens tells the story of a Tangier, Morocco garden, as recorded by Christopher (CJ) two decades ago. In order to visit the garden he was required by the garden’s owners, a Brit and a Ruskie, to undergo a special ordeal of chocolate and absinthe before walking at sunset in the garden. CJ first had to visit the land of the green fairies before he could enter their Oval Garden. This is that story.

I have attached a link to a 30 min. SoundCloud file that tells that story from the early days, back when I was developing the beta version. I am moving this story forward as Tangier Gardens–out of the classroom into real life…via plant portals. Click on the SoundCloud link immediately below and listen to Christopher tell his story.

Tangier medina portal

…but the deeper Christopher (CJ) digs into Tangier, the stranger it becomes. He can’t tell one portal from another. Entangled almost beyond hope, he walks the Oval Garden at the Hibiscus House. His way out…his way home?

This is in part a freshly edited re-post of a 2015 post I made, entitled Chocolate, Gardens and Magic, which if I might say so, was well illustrated with Art Nouveau graphics. There you can read Christopher’s Tangier garden story–his journey in search of portals.

Dancing

What is a nature prescription? Why do you need it? Political or health albatross around your neck? A walk out past the edge of town?…just like Dancing in the Moonlight. Take a break.

Should your ‘nature prescription’ be more like taking aspirin or Dancing in the Moonlight? Take a walk in a place like this–that’s a nature prescription. Aspirin? Dancing in the Moonlight? It’s both and more. You’ve got to go beyond the edge of town or village–outside that downtown buzz–and breathe deeply–let your walls down–open all your senses. And the portals will open.