I couldn’t figure it out.
In my last post, I referred to winter towns squeezed between the mountains and the lake at the shore line. Upon closer examination, they are not squeezed–they just fit. Like we’d all like to fit…and not be squeezed, not be forced.
Late December 2020 in the northern range of the Swiss Alps.
I crossed the line.
What? Which line?
Did I stop wearing a mask?
Did I stop supporting local populism?
Did I walk the wrong way on a one-way-street?
I stopped seeing winter as cold, naked and heartless. I stopped seeing winter as death to be abhorred.
Clouds gently drift into and pause in places we humans can not easily access.
What is freedom? What is science? What is clear? What is certain?
I have talked about, that is, written about portals…portals and plants.
What do I mean when I say portals? It is more about what words can not describe. What?
Perhaps you remember some TV shows, Twilight Zone, One Step Beyond…but this is about real life. That’s right, real life.
For centuries, dare I say, millennia, people, humans have spoken about, written and explored the indescribable relationships between plants and humans. Portals is my effort to continue that chain of communication.
Ernst used gnomes and elves to describe these indescribable relationships.
Let me share some of Ernst Kreidolf’s life story.
He was born over one hundred years ago in Switzerland. He was a classic artist, a pioneer of children’s illustration and picture books…and gnomes in the popular imagination! His magical illustrations have a timeless quality. To this day, his art is still very popular in Switzerland.
Kreidolf’s famous books first appeared in 1901 Die schlafenden Bäume (The Sleeping Trees), in 1902 Die Wiesenzwerge (The Meadow Dwarves), and in 1903 Schwaetzchen fuer Kinder (Chit Chat for Children). In 1904 Kreidolf was involved in Richard Dehmel’s Buntscheck, ein Sammelbuch für Kinder (Patchwork, a Scrap-book for Children). In 1905 the book Alte Kinderreime (Old Nursery Rhymes) appeared followed by in 1908 Sommervoegel (Butterflies). The latter was highly acclaimed by Hermann Hesse. In 1911 Der Gartentraum (The Garden Dream) was published.
In 1920 Blumen Ritornelle (Flower Chorus), in 1922 Alpenblumenmaerchen (Alpine Flower Fairy-tales), in 1924 Ein Wintermaerchen (A Winter’s Fairy-tale), in 1926 Lenzgesind (Servants of the Spring), in 1928 Das Hundefest (The Dogs’ Party), in 1929 Bei den Gnomen und Elfen (With the Gnomes and Elves), in 1931 Grashupfer (The Grasshopper), in 1932 Aus versunk´nen Gärten (From the Sunken Gardens) and in 1935 Die Himmelreich-Wiese (The Kingdom of Heaven Meadow).
His illustrations carry us off to the world of fairytales and dreams, where plants play a leading role.
His legacy endures as a tender ode to Mother Nature’s glory. The best illustrated web site with Kreidolf biography–a fantastic display of his water-color work.
And portals? His work was all about portals.
I think I can see the future.
Or, the trees with the forest?
Are we there yet? Have we made it through the clouds, through the forest?
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.
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.
I looked out the window today. Fall had snuck in, big time. Nearby a huge old linden tree was freely droping leaves. It made me think of snow flakes, large snow flakes drifting down on a day with no wind.
It was mid afternoon. There was still an autumnal warm sun. I had to take a walk.
It was time for me to get back home for dinner.
This week was my three year anniversary marking my release from the hospital. Three years ago I returned home for the first time following a stroke and three months in hospital–from stretchers to wheelchairs to walkers to crutches to home.
Then the last three years of physio, ergo and logo. If anyone reading this has friends or family with stroke, then consider this encouragement. Improvements can occur even three years after the stroke.
Sun + flowers = hope + beauty