Envy

If I could…and then the fairy appeared before me. Yeah, in my dreams!

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If I could write with the emotion and mystery of these clouds moving ever so slowly but always with magnificent beauty, incredible balance.

And challenges. These clouds offer visual, emotional and intellectual challenges that encourage science to escape Pandora’s box, something I’ve never done.

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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.

Upper Balconies

Deep in the back row of the upper, upper balconies, which are all full today, you can do whatever you want because no one will see you. Can you hear the sonata?

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Clouds fill the upper balconies. 

Mountains Birthing Clouds

Swiss Alps, Bernese Highlands, Jungfrau Region. North side of range.

What more can I say?

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At 1400 meters above sea level, amongst the forests.

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At 3000 meters above sea level, above the tree line.

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. 

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?

Trees…

…can you hear them…

…and green meadows…who can not love them?

Oscar Hammerstein II, said that in the 1950s when he wrote the lyrics for the musical, The Sound of Music.

The title song has these simple lyrics. “The hills are alive.” Think about it. The hills are alive…with what?

He wrote, “with the sound of music.”

No, not the music written by Richard Rodgers…but their own music. “The songs they have sung for thousands of years.”

Think about that because that is what anyone can feel when they visit these hills. These hills are alive with the sound of music. These hills will let you ride on the sound of their music. It is real.

And Hammerstein finished with:

“I go to the hills when my heart is lonely,

I know I will hear what I’ve heard before

My heart will be blessed with the sound of music

And I´ll sing once more.”

Happy New Year, all. 🙂