Wilderswil

Part of what keeps me going into the landscape every day is how the people in the local towns and in their agriculture integrate at the smallest scale into the larger landscape. Wilderswil is an excellent example.

From my place I took two busses and in 10 minutes I was in Wilderswil Dorf–the center of the village.

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The Bears Hotel in the center of Wilderswil–this is downtown in the village. 2,700 people live in Wilderswil which is part of the Interlaken agglomeration(24,000 pop.).

After 5 more minutes walk I was at the edge of the village on a pedestrian path known in the local dialect as a wanderweg–a way for wandering through the landscape–journeys to the unknown.

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Wandering along a wanderweg.

After 15 minutes in thick mixed forest, a view of the larger landscape opened before me.

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The small scale agriculture sits at the base of steep forested mountains.

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The valley floor is pasture for smaller agricultural holdings. The forest begins where the slope becomes too steep for pasture.

The small scale agriculture comes right to the edge of town.

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This is the kind of diversity that comes from hard work and returns healthy people.

The town people use every imaginable way to bring practical plants, gardens and small scale agriculture right to their doorstep.

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These are typical throughout the village–the owners encourage nature right up to their front door.

This last black and white photo, taken in 1952, shows Wilderswil at the mouth of the Saxeten Valley and river. This valley, while never gaining the reputation of the Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald Valleys, has undeniable drama and magnificent landscape setting. These are the Berner Oberland.

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By Werner Friedli – This image is from the collection of the ETH-Bibliothek and has been published on Wikimedia Commons as part of a cooperation with Wikimedia CH. Corrections and additional information are welcome., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59858775

Want to take a walk?

Some days it is hard to get up from the computer.

Other days it is hard to take my eyes off my mobile.

Well, today it is time to take a walk for walk’s sake.

Take a walk?

Uphill? I’ll give it a try. But how far?

Do it!

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?

Forests, Dreams and Fairytales

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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…?

Squeezed at the edge

In my last post, I referred to winter towns squeezed between the mountains and the lake at the shore line. Upon closer examination, they are not squeezed–they just fit. Like we’d all like to fit…and not be squeezed, not be forced.

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I think, winter spring, summer or fall, I would have fun walking this village, don’t you agree?

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?

Three Kings or …

…virgin? Take your pick.

This landscape has been labelled, the Jungfrau Region. The Jungfrau is the virgin. I see it differently. These are the Three Kings.

Mountain peaks from left to right, Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.

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Snow = Water. Water = King.

But what I like most about this photo is the foreground. On the top of the center foreground hill, see below, is a place to have a cup of coffee and a piece of pie while enjoying unrestricted visual access to the Kings. 

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Look carefully in the right center background to see the Jungfraujoch Observatory at 3,400 meters above sea level.

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What happened to my beautiful autumn?

Today was one of those fall days when I just had to take a walk.

No mask. No distancing. Just a walk outdoors.

The fresh air keeps me from thinking why so many governments and media outlets want me to be afraid to breathe. Afraid to breathe? Yeah, because somebody might die. I have to be afraid of breathing? Doesn’t make sense.

So I took a walk. On a mountain path suitable for this 75yr old, three years after a stroke, nevertheless, in good health.

Clouds were everywhere. And they weren’t everywhere as I walked uphill.

I breathed deeply the air. The air was influenced by agriculture and forestry management. It was not influenced by bustling cities. When I inhaled deeply. The air felt clean and healthy deep down in my lungs. The entire passage felt clean and healthy.

To me that is not only the basis of life, it is the simplest pleasure of life. I was feeing refreshed, what to speak of fall color and 50 degrees Fahrenheit

Then I was in the clouds. I found myself walking in the sound of clouds. In case you haven’t, you should note that clouds come and go without sound. Without even the slightest whisper they come, they envelope, then they leave. Through the entire experience, the thread of sameness was silence.

But other things changed. As I walked deeper into the cloud, I saw less and less about me. My breathing became labored. Then my mind took over–had I been enveloped by a covid cloud? Hard to breathe–is this my end–is this the beginning of harder and harder breathing–never getting enough?

Then the cloud lifted. Clarity resumed. Unhindered deep breathing resumed. I was no longer afraid to breathe.

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1. In real life these mountain clouds form, dissolve, move at speeds that disable human powers of observation. They are as slow as they are silent.

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2. They arise, grow and dissolve while we are busy thinking. Stealth is their very essence.

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3. In these mountains, it is easy to walk above the clouds–not fog–clouds!

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4. Autumn colors seduce.

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5. Clouds arrive without warning.

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6. They thicken without warning.

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7. Breathing becomes labored.

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8. …and then under labored breathing, the mind troubles. The mind can become our worst enemy. Only proper use of intelligence can harness the mind.

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9. Clouds lifting, like intelligence cleaning out the worries of the mind.

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10. Clarity returns; but clouds are always just around the corner.

And speaking of stealth, I think my freedom to breathe healthy air deep into my lungs, under some debatable guise, may be in real life, stealthily taken from me.