And this is heaven?

Aletsch Glacier

River of ice? Sea of ice?

Often I intuitively feel an inspirational link in my plants, gardens and landscape photos. That makes them easy to share.

But this day, this photo left me wordless, speechless, spellbound.

Then finally came some words. Geography, topography. I was standing at 4,000 meters above sea level, looking down upon 3,000 meters above sea level. Those are the Swiss Alps.

I thought of the Himalayas and Mt Everest at 7,000 and 8,000 meters above sea level. Twice as high as I was on the day.

This is the Aletsch Glacier and its tributaries in the Berner Oberland. They live just off the back side of the famous Jungfrau mountain, above Interlaken.

Measured in human terms, the scale is incomprehensible. Even with the alarmists’ passionate flogging of the ‘end of the world’ ‘global warming’, which over millennia comes and goes like the seasons of each year, this living glacial landscape measures 14 km in length.

Still leaves me speechless. Its beauty takes my breath away. So I share this photo.

Is it clear yet?

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I see the light.

That’s right. The ‘magic light’ that travels from the sun 93 million miles through ‘space’ and supplies an ‘energy’ to plants which in turn then support every living animal and human on this planet. Is that not amazing? Is that not magic? Or is that science?

Travels 93 million miles and still has enough power to feed this entire planet? And we think we can control that? Am I missing something?

A little joy…

…goes a long way. Especially this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere.

Northern Hemisphere?

After the joy of the first fluffy snows, I find a certain, almost enbalming, dreariness in gardens before any sign of snow drops or aconites. Everything is gray and dank.

That was yesterday, after my physio at the hospital, as I walked home. Cheery did not enter my thoughts. Wind was cold. I zipped my coat up higher to protect my throat. Everything was wet. Melting piles of snow everywhere. All plants had suffered under the burdens of ice, slush and snow.

Witch Hazel

Unexpected discovery. Don’t give up hope. And even a little bit of fragrance.

They call it witch hazel. There are a bunch of them around the world in the Genus Hamamelis. Got its common name from its use by water witchers. Lots of medicinal uses.

From first sight, it sparked hope in me.

Forests, Dreams and Fairytales

Forests and Dreams (1)

Have you ever been where black forests white, only to feel winter pushing at the edge, unleashing colored dreams?

These are the forests of fairytales. Forests, where blacks and whites dissolve…into the always gray, always shady dreams…or do they?

Color or gray, dreams invariably have misty, shapeshifting edges where certainty and uncertainty jostle. And the fairytales? Were they once dreams, or…?

I crossed the line

Late December 2020 in the northern range of the Swiss Alps.

I crossed the line.

What? Which line?

Did I stop wearing a mask?

Did I stop supporting local populism?

Did I walk the wrong way on a one-way-street?

No.

I stopped seeing winter as cold, naked and heartless. I stopped seeing winter as death to be abhorred.

Crossed the line

No leaves? No problem. No sun? No problem. Huge landscape? Big time. Mountains, sky, lake. Along the shoreline in the middle ground and background, the big landscape squeezes three towns into mere nothingness. And, by God, I saw beauty. I had crossed the line.

Head in the clouds

Clouds gently drift into and pause in places we humans can not easily access.

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I’d rather have my head in the clouds than my face in the mask.

What is freedom? What is science? What is clear? What is certain?

Portals

I have talked about, that is, written about portals…portals and plants.

What do I mean when I say portals? It is more about what words can not describe. What?

Perhaps you remember some TV shows, Twilight Zone, One Step Beyond…but this is about real life. That’s right, real life.

For centuries, dare I say, millennia, people, humans have spoken about, written and explored the indescribable relationships between plants and humans. Portals is my effort to continue that chain of communication.

GnomeAdvent

This last week I had a birthday. I received from my dearest friend two books of illustrations by the Swiss, Ernst Kreidolf. Both images in this post are his work. He spent his lifetime addressing the communication relationship between people and plants.

Ernst used gnomes and elves to describe these indescribable relationships.

Let me share some of Ernst Kreidolf’s life story.

He was born over one hundred years ago in Switzerland. He was a classic artist, a pioneer of children’s illustration and picture books…and gnomes in the popular imagination! His magical illustrations have a timeless quality. To this day, his art is still very popular in Switzerland.

Ernst Kreidolf und die Pflanzen

Kreidolf’s famous books first appeared in 1901 Die schlafenden Bäume (The Sleeping Trees), in 1902 Die Wiesenzwerge (The Meadow Dwarves), and in 1903 Schwaetzchen fuer Kinder (Chit Chat for Children).  In 1904 Kreidolf was involved in Richard Dehmel’s Buntscheck, ein Sammelbuch für Kinder (Patchwork, a Scrap-book for Children).  In 1905 the book Alte Kinderreime (Old Nursery Rhymes) appeared followed by in 1908 Sommervoegel (Butterflies).  The latter was highly acclaimed by Hermann Hesse.  In 1911 Der Gartentraum (The Garden Dream) was published.

In 1920 Blumen Ritornelle (Flower Chorus), in 1922 Alpenblumenmaerchen (Alpine Flower Fairy-tales), in 1924 Ein Wintermaerchen (A Winter’s Fairy-tale), in 1926 Lenzgesind (Servants of the Spring), in 1928 Das Hundefest (The Dogs’ Party), in 1929 Bei den Gnomen und Elfen (With the Gnomes and Elves), in 1931 Grashupfer (The Grasshopper), in 1932 Aus versunk´nen Gärten (From the Sunken Gardens) and in 1935 Die Himmelreich-Wiese (The Kingdom of Heaven Meadow).

 His illustrations carry us off to the world of fairytales and dreams, where plants play a leading role.

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One cannot but wonder at his ability in both identifying the key characteristics of plants and giving humans a unique interaction with them.

His legacy endures as a tender ode to Mother Nature’s glory. The best illustrated web site with Kreidolf biography–a fantastic display of his water-color work.

And portals? His work was all about portals.