…wild…crocus…

…mass…In open alpine fields, where the snow cover has just receded, a shout of spring rings in my eyes and leaves my ears breathless–swaths of crocus wildly invite…

…intimate, ready…

…and I can not help myself. Crocus albiflorus.

…too busy…I almost missed Spring…4…nextlast

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…winter tries to make a comeback…

…shrinks back, creeps uphill…The snow shrinks back, it creeps uphill leaving behind a wet death–soaked yellow and brown grasses which had long before succumbed to winter’s cold grip.

…creeps downhill…But winter tries to make a comeback. The snow descends, lower and lower–winter tries vainly to re-establish its deathly grip…but I wonder, is it death, or is it purity? When about winter, how can the deaths of so many plants be so beautiful to behold when covered in white?

…too busy…almost missed Spring…2…lastnext

How do humans fit in?

How humans fit in…

Landscape, humans, animals…how do the humans fit in? Is there a preferred way for interaction between humans and animals in the landscape? In the Berner Oberland Jungfrau Region this photo shows an autumnal parade in the village, celebrating the return of the animals from the upper alps, the upper pastures, to their home barns.

The animals are celebrated, applauded and cheered by the villagers twice a year. In the early summer when they leave the village heading up to mountain pastures and then in the fall when they return.

The animals wear decorative headdresses made by humans from pasture and woodland wild flowers and leaves.

I wonder if the energy expended by humans and animals in the landscape, combined with human attitudes of service, duty and reverence, add together to help generate a healthy feeling in the landscape–despite the avalanches, despite the rock and landslides, despite the flash floods.

Today, after seven hundred years of humans managing forests, pastures, animals, villages and themselves, this Berner Oberland Jungfrau Region landscape attracts visitors from every corner of the world to have their breath taken away by the actual beauty and the aura this landscape brings to all.

The Relinking Chain

relinking chain

For seven hundred years the local Berner Oberland farmers have organized, and agreed how to manage this mountain landscape, rich in water and soil, but limited in arable land.

The food chain of Berner Oberland sustainable agriculture has worked for nearly a millennium.

Now over the last century, the advent of tourism–itself is a mark of increasing affluence–has thrown a bunch of new challenges at these farmers. They continue to work through them.

But the landscape–look at it–it is cared for–the animals are cared for–it is beautiful and beautifully managed. This image depicts the essence of human stewardship of the landscape.