To Farm or Not

I was born and grew up in the urban and suburban Midwest USA—Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland—had to drive for miles to see farms, the places where we could buy fresh corn on the cob and watermelon from small makeshift roadside stands. These were grown on huge extensive plains. A consumer, I was a consumer.

I had no idea what farmers had to do over a 12 month or more cycle so that they would have ‘produce’ to sell to me from their roadside stand.

Decades later, I am still a consumer; but I live in a community that has been for generations small scale farmers. Each and every farm house has apple trees and walnut trees growing close by. Even the generations who have moved into the dense village have planted small fruit and nut trees. Why?

This first image reflects a spiritual understanding that nature is unpredictable and a reverence for a greater power is essential for farmers. So many things can go wrong with weather, climate and the geophysical that a season, a year may come anytime to take away the food necessary for farmer life. Imagine no grocery store with well stocked shelves, imagine no 7-11/24-7-365 convenience. Imagine if you had no access to food. Farmers make plans that their families never have to suffer such a hardship.

This means long hours everyday, year round. Just grab a short bit of relaxation from time to time. Hard life. I can see it all around me these days. Yet, I, as a consumer with a second-hand sympathy for farmers, sometimes feel envious of how much determination, commitment and practical knowledge they bring with them day-in, day-out to solve problems beset on them by nature and changing government regulations.

So this year, I have enjoyed observing the ripening process of fruits and nuts—apples and walnuts.

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The Alphorn is a conduit providing mystic connections between music, people and the landscape.

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Walnut trees on every farm.

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The apple of my eye on every farm.

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Walnuts in green—the husks in first stages of ripening.

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Signs that ripening is progressing—the husk prepares to break open.

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The walnut reveal.

Apple and walnut torte or apple and walnut kuchen…your choice.:)

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Nature

…shelter…

…plants, animals, humans…

…shelter…and all are in the landscape.

Mountains, civilized? Ha!

…never…

Mountains, civilized? Ha!
Not these behemoths!

Since written history and before, the Bernese Oberlands have frightened and inspired humans, including Goethe, Byron, Hesse, Mann, Strauss, Schiller, Mendelssohn, Doyle, Haller, Hodler, Savrasov, Koenig, Bierstadt, Wolf, Fearnley…the list goes on and on…and thousands of others who have followed their footsteps.

It is that human consensus which has inspired local people, evolving from agricultural dependency into the modern world, to build technically complex, electrically powered, narrow gauge cogwheel trains up the Bernese Oberlands mountain slopes to what is known today in the Swiss Alps as the Top of Europe.

So, now, humans climb these incredibly steep slopes, sitting on padded seats, with central heating, enjoying visual delights through floor to ceiling polarized glass windows–civilized access to the not nearly civilized mountains.

…what time…where…

Access–maybe just a tiny bit civilized.