Bi-seasonal…yes, I am

 

…bi-seasonal…

Winter does not easily melt away to spring…

 

…bi-seasonal…

…but when it does…it does so beautifully.

Sliding past winter to spring. The pleasure present and the pleasure soon to come.

Advertisements

Humans + Landscape = ?

In between my infrequent blog entries, which always focus on humans and landscape, I am writing adventure novels, not surprisingly on humans and landscape.

As you can see from the menu bar above, I have been working on four novels over the past six years.

In preparation for updating them on my blog this fall, I have had some fun doing themed graphic design, one composite image for each of the four novels.

Themed graphics?

Yes—unique to each novel—humans interacting with the exotic geography and inspirational landscape around them, with the lightest  sprinkling of ethnobotany.

I have interpreted each of the four novels below and I hope you find them enjoyable.

If so, recommend them to your like-minded friends, please.

OrientEspresso03x400

This is the least developed adventure to date. The story revolves around a coffee house in Vienna–a place where for centuries East and West have and continue to struggle…over espresso…the text offering a brief respite.

The23ClubFall1016v05

The landscape background is the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter where surface sand patterns take us to Julian eternities and the sun takes away our sight. The botanical panel is the date palm, Phoenix canariensis providing food, utensils, environmental and architectural shelter. The human craft panel is carved stone–essential discipline. The text is the gold ring.

YellowDreamsFall2016Upgrade04x200

The Moroccan landscape background threatens with an irritating red born of never-truly-healed and always festering cultural conflict wounds–North African, Arabian, Sub-Saharan African and European–in equal measures macerating humans over millennia. The botanical panel is the fruit and foliage of the fig, Ficus carica–rare relief. The human craft shows patterns from North African Berber wool carpets–practical essentials. The text is the shelter humans take from the native and endemic forms of the plant, Cannabis sativa. The dreams are real life.

CrystalVisionFall2016Upgrade04x400

The dark green and blue landscape background is the edge of our dreams always implanted by the highland mountains, forests, lakes, rivers and streams of the Swiss Alps. The botanical panel is the gentian, Gentiana acaulis, whose blue beauty, paired with our rare good fortune, beckons human transformation. The human craft panel patterns are the lace of internal order. The text is the promise of clarity–or is it simply the hope of clarity?

…wish you were here…

…wish you were here…

Trance–not music…or musical ride into trance?

The yodeling exuded the essence of all music…humans, without words, communicating from, and to, some magical landscape node.  The yodeling had freedom, it had discipline, it had beauty and it conveyed, at the same time, a pleasant, almost jolly reverence, and an aura of relaxation.

Listening to music is a linear experience, just like walking though a garden, a landscape.  Music and beauty.  Gardens and beauty.  Portals to transcendence.  There has to be a linkage.  Timeless experiences. Trance? Yodeler trance?

He stood up, stretched, decided to take a walk outside back down toward the center of town.  The evening air was sharp and cool.  It was quiet, Wednesday near 9PM, really quiet.  Grindelwald was at the top end of the valley.  No through automobile traffic.  He paused, listened…maybe he could hear the Lutschine River, about two hundred or so meters down hill, in the valley bottom.  When he started walking again, all he could hear were his own footsteps.

Then somewhere up ahead, he heard what he instinctively knew had to be yodeling.  Softly at first, then it filled his ears.  It was like barbershop, a cappella, unaccompanied singing, a group.  His ears carried him.  His ears, transforming like a delicate cocoon…and the music wrapped him.  He was inside the music…inside the music…suffused by an intense hypnotic, timeless, yet strangely joyful experience.

In no more than a hundred meters, and in the dark, the yodeling had led him just off the main street.  On his left, behind a large tree, he saw a shop or something, tucked behind a hillside.  The yodeling was coming from that direction.  On a weakly lighted, simple sign attached to the side of a smallish free standing building, he saw the name…Blumisalp Stubbe

The Stubbe had an outdoor terrace, facing the mountains, facing the Unterergletscher, and that was where he found the yodelers, about a dozen, maybe a dozen and a half of them.  Everybody he knew always chuckled when yodeling was mentioned, something Americans had once seen back in the 1950s or early 1960s on the Ed Sullivan or the Lawrence Welk television variety shows.

But, in the still of these extraordinary evening mountains, in the quiet of the night, when the mountains were the foreground, middle ground and background all at once, that yodeling had a strong resonance that seemed appropriate to the scale of this place and respectful to its character.

He thought, I don’t know anything about this, so, who am I to judge…but…it does have a very nice feel, a certain sweetness, that’s for sure.  He stood and listened.  For a moment, he couldn’t put words to it, but for the briefest moment, he thought he almost felt the very beginning of that same warm feeling that had overwhelmed him yesterday afternoon, the first time the mountains possessed him.  Then, as soon as the thought formed…the feeling was gone…the intimation disappeared…instantaneously absent.  It was, nevertheless, in its brevity, enjoyable.

The yodelers were on the terrace of the Stubbe.  All the Stubbe terrace doors were open.  The yodelers stood in two lines, at the side of the terrace, singing to the mountains and the Stubbe guests simultaneously.

The yodelers were organized by height, shorter in front, taller behind.  They yodeled two more songs that seemed to have verses and choruses…always a cappella…the singers were men and women, a combination of young and old, all in native clothes, native costumes, somewhat Amish-like…very clean costumes, dominated by black and white, well pressed, black trousers, white shirts and black vests with black lapels and black collars, tastefully accented with smallish embroidered wild flowers–gentian blues–edelweiss silver greens.

The men stood rather casually with their hands in their pockets, but there was definitely a grouped organization.  And the ladies, well, they, too, looked like Amish people…simultaneously proud and humble…lots of white lace over black cloth…very discreet, no asset display…and their decorations, too–mountain wild flowers.


Jodlergruppe Edelwyss-Starnen, from Grindelwald, singing Mys Alpli, one alp is a field, a pasture, a productive piece of mountain land where farm animals graze. Thus in the background of this you can hear the bells of the sheep, goats and cows. The full version can be found at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/jodelgruppe-edelwyss-starnen/id329166348

Introspective garden pilgrimage

W.Curt Mulligan, a Los Angeles Landscape Architect, executor and close professional friend of George Moleson, recently met the author at the above pictured Eau Zone pool deck restaurant in Dubai. Credit to Kerzner International Developer, EDSA Consultant and Desert Landscape Contractor.

W. Curt Mulligan, a Los Angeles Landscape Architect, executor and close professional friend of George Moleson, recently met the author at the above pictured Eau Zone pool deck restaurant in Dubai. Credit to Kerzner International Developer, EDSA Consultant and Desert Landscape Contractor.

Over the past year via some excellent beta reader reviews from Goodreads, I have updated my original Beta of Crystal Vision to Beta 02.

Crystal Vision is a landscape story–a landscape story like my first, The 23 Club.

The 23 Club featured Erik Chalmers and occurred primarily in the Arabian Peninsula sand desert known as the Empty Quarter.

Crystal Vision is a pilgrimage, beginning near Medina in the Western Region of Saudi Arabia, that ultimately takes George Moleson and his design journals into the landscape heart of the Bernese Alps–Grindelwald, Switzerland.

George Moleson is a professional landscape architect from Los Angeles who had taken a job six years ago planning, designing, building, managing a new town on the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia.

When his best friend on the job commits suicide, George is shocked and is left with only one clue.  His options become clear when his own job is terminated and he has nowhere to go.  He begins a pilgrimage to the cities and hinterlands of Thailand and Switzerland in a hunt to find the fiancé of his recently deceased friend.

Along the way, George has doors of perception opened in Thailand’s Golden Triangle where he meets Vrndadevi, a permaculture specialist who talks to him about spiritual settling.  Then she points him to the Swiss landscape where yodeling and the Bernese Alps encourage George into deeper personal and professional introspection.

These peculiar landscape events gradually refocus his original search to close the loop on his friend’s suicide onto his own professional and personal life uncertainties–a search to answer questions that we all face.

On the surface, this story is about design, plants, gardens and it takes place in exotic locations–a natural for me.  But then it turns into something deeper.

Normally designers’ notes and their journals do not interest me–they are the  overelaborated microscopic views of narcissists–the stuff of ethereal ephemera–but this one is different.

George’s design journals are like a well structured and well detailed beautiful garden, a series of garden rooms that had unfortunately been neglected, had become overgrown.

Look closely at them, pull out a few weeds, cut back overgrown others–the careful cleaning reveals beautiful plants with the spark of life, with kernels of good health.  Inspirational portals of excellence await discovery, enjoyment, exploration.

Here is a link to all ten Crystal Vision episodes’ summaries, including the entire Preface.

 

Three loglines: interesting or boring?

A logline is a piece of movie jargon.  It is one sentence that tells the whole story.

So, as I continue to develop three landscape stories concurrently, I have revised their loglines:
The 23 Club: Amidst a team of unpredictable rogues and mercenary colleagues, a landscape architect has taken a challenge to build a set of luxurious gardens in the unforgiving sand dune landscape of the Empty Quarter.
Crystal Vision: An expatriate American, a mid-career landscape architect, for six years building and living in a new town in Saudi Arabia embarks on his own pilgrimage which takes him through the peculiar gardens and landscapes of Thailand and Switzerland, tracking a singular clue left by his recently deceased close friend and office colleague.
Yellow Dreams: To finish his last university class, a self directed design study, an American landscape architecture student goes to Morocco for six months where he is twisted by the deafening roar of the North African landscape complexities, endangering the completion of his study–endangering his graduation.
Interesting or boring?  Tell me.

Crystal Vision, Beta Edition, 26Sep2013

Crystal Vision is a landscape story.  It is a novella, literary fiction.

The past reaches for today

The past reaches for today

In Crystal Vision, George Moleson, an emerging professional, leaves his landscape architecture roots in Southern California, to build his international career, becoming a key person on a huge new town project located just near the Tropic of Cancer, on the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia.

After six cosseted years on that project, a quick succession of personal and professional events batter George.  They untether him; and he embarks into the labyrinthine mists of landscapes…landscapes the nature of he had never ever imagined.

Read Crystal Vision preface and the ten Episodes’ summaries.

From Bern to Bernese Oberlands Jungfrau Region

From Bern to Bernese Oberlands Jungfrau Region

Mountains, Plants, Water, Sky

Mountains, Plants, Water, Sky

Humans in the Mountains

Humans in the Mountains

Then please tell me if you like it or have any questions about it.

Thank you for your time and interest in the landscape.

Crystal Vision and Labyrinthine Mists

As I move toward the completion of my second landscape story, Crystal Vision, I have updated the novella’s story line.

Labyrinthine Mists

Labyrinthine Mists is the landscape through which the main character moves.

Geo was from LA.  He was a young and successful landscape architect; yet he sensed…an unease.  He took an offer to work in Saudi Arabia, an excellent challenge where he would have exponentially larger responsibilities.

During his six years on the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia, his professional and social life evolved inside a bubble, a cultural bubble protecting him from uncertainty…until…the bubble burst.

He lost his tether to ‘reality’ and began a blind journey into a landscape labyrinth.  A labyrinth by definition does not have an end; but Geo sensed…an obligation and something important to find.  And so, he embarked upon an exploration of labyrinthine landscapes he had never before imagined.