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.

Stealth

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.

Islands in the Sky

Islands of trees in the clouds.

This is not augmented reality.

This is not CG.

This is not AI.

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The clouds make these islands in their own time; and they disappear these islands in their own time.

Cloud time is not human time.

Railing

Railing about what?

Once upon a time…and then it was yesterday…and you are reading this today.

In a land of mountain trains–funiculars, cable cars and narrow gauge cogwheel trains. They are slow and they get you high.

Why? Why get high?

I’ll let the following photos tell the story. You will be in the Bernese Highlands of the Jungfrau Region, the northern pre-mountains, above 2,000 meters in the Swiss Alps. Why build these mechanical contraptions to get high?

Here are the trains that get you high.

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Passenger cars–note narrow gauge and cogwheel. Start at 600 meters, finish at 2,300 meters.

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Passenger cars and engine–small and strong–electric power. 

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Engine close up–attached in front of the engine is a cart for transporting goods and construction materials.

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Once you are high…the air is thin, fresh, cool and the distances…magical.

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Mountains–Eiger, Monch, Junfrau with the Mannlichen gipfel amidst the clouds in the foreground.

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Paths to explore, paths for discovering.

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Discoveries.

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Going deep in.

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Can’t get enough.

Landrace Clouds

What are landrace clouds? I made it up. Combination of words to describe the reality of cloud appearance in my neighborhood.

My neighborhood. According to the Swiss National Meteorological office, my Swiss neighborhood is the Northern Alps, the north facing slopes of the northernmost range of Alps in Switzerland. Using more common tourist and environmentally friendly vocabulary, my neighborhood is in the Jungfrau Region of the Berner Oberland around Interlaken. I live in the north-facing drainage basin of the famous Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountain triumvirate.

Now all that aside, over my years of walking this neighborhood, I have noticed that barely observable, minimal fluctuations in temperature, humidity, pressure and wind create quite dramatic formation and dissolution of very low level clouds. Please do not confuse them with fog. For a patient viewer, a dance reveals itself. And where there is dance, there is music. Not in astronomical time, but in real time. See it. Feel it. Hear it. 

Unmistakeable to a person on foot.

So for me, landrace clouds are very specific, locally generated occurrences. That is my starting point. That is real. Then the fiction begins. I call it fiction because of the reality that what we call ‘fixed’ or ‘settled’ science is not really fixed or settled or permanent. I like working and writing on the edge of the fixed because every edge is fuzzy and invites exploration, as do these landrace cloud phenomena.

I ask myself, what really happens at the point where a cloud begins its formation in touch with the earth? My response is a bit alchemical, a bit old school. I theorise that point as the interaction of earth, air, water…kind of special already, no? But what about ether? What happens at the moment of generation and the final moment of dissolution?

So, I go hunting in my neighborhood for generation points of landrace clouds. Following are eleven images from recent forays.

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1. Here is a generic shot of clouds in my neighborhood. Note the lake(water), the mountains(earth) and the sky(air). Note the cloud varieties.  Anybody sense the presence of ethereal?

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2. Here is a closer view showing certain cloud interactions with the earth.

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3. In this partially zoomed view, note the implied dynamics of the landrace cloud edges.

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4. In this zoomed view it is clear to see the scale of the landscape and the recently generated landrace cloud.

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5. And now the landrace cloud hunt begins–first person–on the ground–in your face.

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6. I learned the landrace cloud dynamics first hand. They always move. Their edges always change. The harder I looked, the further away they were.

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7. On another day, I learned that if I just stood still long enough, the landrace clouds came to me. But on this day no such luck.

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8. Without the opportunity to be at the point of cloud generation, I had so satisfy the walk by appreciating such details as here.

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9. Spring wild flowers in Alp pastures never cease to amaze.

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10. But as I was looking for the landrace cloud points of generation, I saw this hut at the edge of the forest.

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11. And at the peak of the roof,  protecting this hut, was…

All of the above represent a ‘typical’ walk in my neighborhood. And that is why fiction is just too close to fact. 

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!

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.