Probably don’t…

 …want to hear about this stroke update. That’s ok because you don’t have to read it. I want to put words to what I felt today.

About 18 months ago I was in bed, a vegetable in a windowless and clockless emergency ward. Tubes everywhere. Nothing that worked before was working. 

Gradually things sank in, internal clouds started lifting and I started thinking. Still unable to get out of bed. If only I could speak again. If only I could clean myself again. I dreamed if only I could walk in the country…oh such a dream. Then the rehab began. Then the hard discipline became essential. Little step by little step.

Below is where I walked today. I almost melted with joy and happiness. Wish fulfilled.  So many to thank.

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Who wouldn’t want to take this walk?

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Butterscotch or Toffee?

I am looking at a bosque of Plane trees planted next to the Interlaken Ost train station. In the recent afternoon sun, I could call them butterscotch or toffee and be happy.

Often, in the urban public realm, simpler is better.

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Platanus acerifolia?

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.:)

Chocolate Gardens

This is about Moroccan gardens and landscape.

Earlier today, I prepared to record the revised draft of one of my novels to perform a sentence by sentence prose edit. To my surprise, as I set up a folder for the audio, I found an old .aif file entitled Chocolate Gardens. On that 30 minute file I heard myself reading what appeared to be a post publication recall of events.

Well, since my stroke I am finding quite a few things I had completely forgotten. That’s kinda fun. Maybe sad, but still fun. We all have imperfect memories, but as a stroke victim, I seem to have now a greater worrisome sense about forgetfulness. Oh well, time continues. No harm done.

The Chocolate Gardens tells the story of a Tangier, Morocco garden, as recorded by Christopher two decades ago. In order to visit the garden he was required by the garden’s owners, a Brit and a Ruskie, to undergo a special ordeal of chocolate and absinthe before walking at sunset in the garden. Christopher first had to visit the land of the green fairies before he could enter their Oval Garden. This is that story.

Readers…by now you know that my blog, flahertylandscape, is all about plants and people–landscape journeys. Sounds fair and safe enough; but what I am about to share with you goes beyond strange.

Anyone who has worked in a garden–suffered blisters and callouses in a garden for fruit, vegetables, flowers, medicine–knows there is something more in those gardens. This is for you.

Gardens? Chocolate? Yes, definitely…but I never thought to combine them until the email I received quite recently from an almost forgotten friend. Donkeys’ years ago when I was in Tangier, we worked together on the Baie de Tanger–it was a tourist destination development project.

Now, my friend’s still in Tangier, but as an antique dealer, using as an income cover, a store of second hand furniture.

I have attached a link to a 30 min. SoundCloud file that tells the rest of the story. I hope you like it.

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…for millennia…Tangier has been a nexus of Mediterranean, African and European cultures…a classic melting pot that is still on the boil.

This is in part a freshly edited re-post of  a 2015 post I made, entitled Chocolate, Gardens and Magic, which if I might say so, was well illustrated with Art Nouveau graphics.

Action Redux

 

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Phoenix dactylifera finds its way north to the cold of winter.

I am living in the Northern Hemisphere in a region where serious winter occurs as freezing water and ground along with regular snows, so how is it that I am eating dates which do not grow naturally anywhere near here?

That is almost a third grade geography question. 🙂

But it needs an answer. Shipping and transportation of foodstuffs in our modern world, we should not take it for granted, should we?

Landscape meet Garden

I’ve been writing landscape adventure stories the past couple years, and in a strange fashion, the narrators of each story have taught me new perceptions of landscape architecture and design.

For example, the narrator of Crystal Vision explained to me that landscape harbors danger for humans and that garden is safe and primarily provides for quiet introspection and also for active and regular energy exchange. The narrator explained further that both landscape and garden are deficient if not dominated by plants sustained by adequate water.

Yeah, it did make sense to me, anyone else agree?

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It all happens at the town’s edge.

The Right Altitude

May Snow

A week ago I posted Wisteria photo taken the same day, so enamoured I was of its floriferous and fragrant presence. I called it a mature spring dream.

Today, just one week later I had the opportunity to observe a unique scientific reality—that is—higher elevations have cooler temperatures. And that dramatically affects the visual coming of spring.

I live in essentially the same easting and northing for the Wisteria photo and these weather photos below. All have been taken within a 5 mile by 5 mile square on a map. I can observe the weather at 500 meters above sea level—the Wisteria–no snow fall at all–only a cold spring rain.

And I can observe the weather at 1,500 meters above sea level which I did today. My easy access to these very different elevations is possible due to the well developed cog-wheel train system in operation year round in all weather conditions.

Today, at 1,500 meters and higher, I saw no crocus, no dandelion, no green. But I did have the joyous fun of a snowfall in mid Spring—large flakes in blizzard-like conditions up to 12” deep and sticking to all coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs.

Good fun.

…high…

800 meters above sea level–at this elevation there was no snowfall but you can see the dynamic cloud activity–up the faces of the cliffs–along the  valley floor–and the entire valley is covered and darkened by the low overcast.

 

…higher…

1,500 meters above sea level–at this elevation I have entered the low overcast layer that caused the reduced light at 800 meters. Inside the overcast layer was snowing.

 

…highest…

2,300 meters above sea level–at this level I have risen above the first overcast snowing and am now in snowfall from a higher overcast. This is where 12″ of snow had already fallen and the snow was still falling. A cog-wheel train at left.