A 31Dec2021 Surprise

Don’t we all need a pleasant surprise? I was given one that I’d like to share with anyone who derives pleasure from the landscape.

Watching the sky in mountainous landscapes in my neighborhood, I am always struggling with clouds or fog. At what point does fog become a cloud? And do clouds ever become fog?

How can I even ask these questions? 

Because in steep mountainous terrain along a river valley whose source, not far away, is in the above tree line, high mountain pass glaciers, I regularly see the life cycle of clouds–the speed of cloud formation and dissolution. 

And that for me is excitement. 

Why? Because the speed of cloud is slower than human patience of vision. 

How often can we look at a cloud long enough to see its swirling edges grow or decline–and then until the cloud disappears or generates from nothing to a huge presence.

Today, 31Dec2021, I had an unexpected present handed to me by the local mountain landscape. 

I saw for the very first time–what I could for certainty define–ground fog. It began last night at sunset. Then in the middle of the night it grew while I slept. By morning, we were enveloped in it. It wasn’t deep but it was thick. 

In the clear sky sunshine, I took a walk to explore how the ground fog moved (more of a slow-motion slither, an exhale, a flow) around the valley floor. 

There is something special about seeing in real life, real time, the life cycle of clouds and in this case ground fog. 

I go through the whole gaia thing and the science of temp/moisture/wind. But in the end, I am convinced there is some thing alive in this life cycle. Are the mountains breathing in and out? I don’t know. My weak speculation is ignorant at best. But I feel what I feel. All I can do is write about what goes on in the landscape. It is all around each and every one of us. And it is mysterious…arcane.

Real snow

I wrote previously about winter colors, snow line and black and white.

The most attractive black and white in our landscape is the magpie, the Eurasian magpie, Pica pica. They have an large, active nest nearby in the top of a huge linden tree, Tilia cordata. When the first winter snowfall arrived the nest got so snowed in…it was no longer visible, neither were the magpies.

Where are the magpies?

Winter colors

…mountain, sky, forest and lake…

Gray sky? Yes.

White snow? Yes.

But the color of the lake? Look carefully and compare with the summer photo taken at the same time of day of the same mountain.

How cold is the ‘winter blue’ of the lake?
How warm and rich the mountain, sky and forest colors? And the lake, how to describe the color? Refreshing.

The above landscapes provide me daily inspirations to write about the landscape architecture past times of Christopher Janus, known to his friends as CJ, and his landscape encounters in Tangier Gardens. Please visit my Tangier Gardens landing page to sign up for launch discounts and more info on CJ’s north west Africa landscape searches for portals.

***As of NOV2021***PLEASE NOTE***FLAHERTYLANDSCAPE HAS MOVED ITS URL TO A NEW DOMAIN–https://flahertylandscape.com CONTENT THE SAME ONLY A NEW URL. PLEASE CLICK THAT LINK.

Butterscotch–once again

It is that time of year.

It’s here. There is no doubt.

What’s this?

It’s the autumn.

We don’t have those North American attention grabbing sugar maples or even their cousins around here.

Rising out of the butterscotch sea. From the lower valley pastures to the mid mountain mixed deciduous and evergreen up to the near mountain summit pure coniferous forests. Autumn calls.
Some might say how drab! Yellows and browns. C’mon man.
But honestly…these yellows and browns in our landscape offer something more…a flavor…a sweetness. A pleasurable sweetness. A lasting enjoyment that comes…from a flavor to a taste…to become softly in our ear…a kind word. Extrasensual.
I like it–like a butterscotch candy…the flavor lasts and lasts.

Awed

I can not turn away from my evergreen source of inspiration. It is a landscape that continuously surprises me with its overwhelming awe, its raw power and a beauty that leaves me speechless —harmonic beauty. And it always makes me ask questions–about transportation infrastructure, water resources, land management. I love it. Refreshing it is.

The big, broad spreading beech. These are very uncomfortable times. Do I fight or become a medical experiment? We all have that choice, or do we? I take walks–and I find shelter–like this beech tree on a river bank. It says shelter. Relief. Relief? Relief from what? Why do I need shelter? Twenty months of health statistics anomalies. And I haven’t seen anyone collapse on the street since that Wuhan play actor almost two years ago. Yet everything I read or see on TV says I should be part of big pharma/political experiments. Yeah, I need relief. And yeah, that beech tree offered it. I looked long, hard and lovingly at that strong beech and its broad spreading protective canopy. I felt the shelter; and for a long moment I felt relief from the non-stop tyrannical tensions.
I pushed on. I walked further and further and became awestruck. A landscape vista worked its magic on me. The beauty so overwhelmed that I needed to sit. Dizzy with beauty I had become. More relief–this time with inspiration.

Romantic landscape? Definitely. Evergreen inspiration. Evergreen succour.

Listen to ‘Mys Alpli’

I had to re-post this because it sings in my heart–source of evergreen inspiration.

Edelwyss-Starnen sing the last verse of Mys Alpli. High in the Berner Oberland, an alp is a field, a pasture, a productive piece of mountain land where animals can be grazed. Thus in the background of this you can hear the bells of the sheep, goats and cows. Available at itunes.apple.com/us/artist/jodelg…rnen/id329166348

Mid July in the Berner Oberland Jungfrau Region–it is that time of year when the highest alps receive the animals for the ‘spring’ grasses.

I met a researcher in a Stubbe last week. He was researching linkages between humans and the landscape. He shared with me the following photos of yodelers.

…silvery…

Yodelers in the Jungfrau Region of the Berner Oberland in Switzerland–in the yodel, a human can hear and feel the landscape.

…silver…

Yodelers demonstrate their respect for the landscape in all aspects of their lives–arts, crafts–and the richness of the detail recalls the richness of their feelings for the landscape. Stewards, custodians of the landscape–that is only the beginning in the Jungfrau Region of the Berner Oberland.

He noted that these yodelers are not hired professionals or foreign workers. They are humans whose families have lived in this landscape for centuries.

He posited that there are rootlets of some strange consistency that transcend the lifetimes of humans. Those rootlets, he said, were channels through which a music travels from the landscape through the voices of the yodelers.

Each verse of a song glorifies a different aspect of the relationship between humans and the landscape. And each chorus…well…the chorus is the landscape.

Link to the original post in 2016.

Dancing

What is a nature prescription? Why do you need it? Political or health albatross around your neck? A walk out past the edge of town?…just like Dancing in the Moonlight. Take a break.

Should your ‘nature prescription’ be more like taking aspirin or Dancing in the Moonlight? Take a walk in a place like this–that’s a nature prescription. Aspirin? Dancing in the Moonlight? It’s both and more. You’ve got to go beyond the edge of town or village–outside that downtown buzz–and breathe deeply–let your walls down–open all your senses. And the portals will open.

What’s missing here?

How can I get free of this stinking political and health fear-stuffed albatross?

Suppose this page is about you…and suppose you are wound up tighter than a drum by the tension of world wide and local politics and health. This page is your wayfinder.

THE PURPOSE OF THE BLOG AND ALL MY WRITING is to assist you the visitor to begin taking steps along a path toward discovering the regenerative existential cures to be freely found in plants, gardens and the landscape.

THE FIRST STEP is what could be called ‘nature prescriptions’–calibrated doses of time outside. Take a walk. But does the walk heal? What actually happens?  What is on the path that takes you on a journey? Where do landscape journeys take you?

And why even take that path and that journey?

A walk, a journey just for the landscape?–heh, I know what you are thinking–we all know what landscape is, right? Same old, same old, right?

flahertylandscape contends it is more–consider this:

The landscape can be a private cocoon to rest the restless.

On the walk you may weave dreams full of surprise and delight yielding true moments of repose.

It can be a journey to unwind, to regenerate, to reconnect with inner peace, to nest away from the daily hustle and bustle.

What’s missing from this photo? If you want to take that first regenerative walk on a landscape journey, here is what should be missing. Mobile, and any digital intrusion, mechanical noise from the city, from autos, any miscellaneous connectivity kit–that’s right don’t bring modern noise with you. Missing out all th is an essential part of your nature prescription.

Seasons change…and so do I

I am embedded in a landscape that has moved from spring into the definites of summer. The basics and the speed of spring growth have finished. For some, the hazy sameness of summer signals the onset of boredom.

Nope, not for me.

Clouds change like the seasons, too slowly to easily see.

Clouds? Where?
Because cloud speed is so slow, people use time lapse to see their beauty, their magical forming and reforming. But–science aside, gaia aside–where do they come from? How do mists turn into clouds? And the mists–here they are…here they aren’t.

And that is how the flahertylandscape blog is changing–slowly.

I set up this web site to talk about the landscape. Since 2013, most of the posts encourage the reader to interact with the landscape, its gardens and plants.

This blog also includes a section on landscape architecture, my profession.

And I have also included a section entitled landscape stories

I wanted to write landscape stories spurred by my own career in landscape architecture to give to students some insights into what they might find in their careers. 

Goes back to my university education where I found the most interesting and valuable courses to be a series of 2 week summer courses taught by private sector landscape architects. Why? Real world projects had a resonance that was absent from typical class room assignments.

Situations in post graduation offices taught lessons never addressed at university. 

So I wanted to provide that resonance and reality for students still in university. You might ask, why don’t you teach? My response? Teach?!! Different animal–designing and getting a project built–that’s what I can share…and then there is the small item of my stroke four years ago. Isolated now. Don’t do crowds well. Don’t multi-task. Don’t do tit for tat speed–so I write.

Now I am getting to my seasons change title.

I will be gradually modifying this blog as I get closer to the ARC of my debut novel, Tangier Gardens, the first in the series, The Landscape Architect–fictional autobiographical stories that track the strange twists and turns in the life of a landscape architect who is committed to professional career practice. ARC? Advance Review Copy–working on this now.

Over the next six months, I will track the ARC, the pre-publication and the launch. All will happen and be accommodated on this blog.

But I also have a presence on YouTube which features the many years I lived and worked in the Arabian Peninsula. It has been years since I dug into the Empty Quarter–that place in SW Asia around which a lot of my professional career as a landscape architect revolved. You wonder about that landscape? Here is a taste. Follow the links embedded in each photo.

Dates mean water and life. A chance for existence in the Empty ‘of life’ Quarter.
In the life cycle of dates, beauty can be found in many seasons in many ways.