Fall2020

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.

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1.European linden, Tilia x vulgaris

It was mid afternoon. There was still an autumnal warm sun. I had to take a walk.

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2.I wanted to take my peeps for a ride on the nearest lake; but along the way, I became distracted. This image made me think, if I was looking at a city, would I be looking at something as diverse as this? Then I thought green ferns and gray rocks. Such a pleasant combination. Then I headed to the lake.

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3.When I showed my peeps the boat, they said no way. Not sea worthy.

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4.Then they pointed to the ship they wanted. I looked. Instead of the ship I saw the fall color in the backgroud forests.

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5.I followed the forests along the lake edge until I saw this town. Then I thought, no need to go out on the lake. It would be more fun following paths in the forest.

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6.Ahhh, yes, this was my pleasure in the Lauterbrunnen Valley away from the tourist route.

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7.And as usual for me, I had to look not only at the large forest landscape but also at those life forms that were sheltering under the forest canopy. And as I examined, I was unfortunately forced to ask if this was a diverse village. Upon closer inspection…one bite makes you larger and another makes you small…

It was time for me to get back home for dinner.

Landscape Visualization

Not so long ago, I participated in a survey by an American specialist in landscape visualization. The survey focussed on the inclusion of visual utility infrastructure as it is built through the landscape.

At the close of the survey a question was asked for each to identify the ideal image of landscape visualization. Well, it would have been easy to say–landscape without any infrastructure visual intrusion would have been my preference.

Could not do that. But I did add that since humans had been living with and using the landscape as long as written history, the ideal landscape image should include successful use, accomodation and management of the landscape.

Just recently, I found a photogenic example that expressed my ideal. The images follow below.

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This foreground field, occurring at the confluence of three mountain valleys and two mountain lakes, was for decades a central air field for national self-defence. When that defence was transferred from props to jets, the airfield became community pasture and recreation for 25,000 local people. The red circle, enlarged in the image below, shows how well major electrical infrastructure has been brought through the adjacent forest.

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This is an enlargement of the red circle shown in the above image.  I should note that this landscape, incredibly photogenic, is regularly photographed by me in all seasons. And despite the well camouflaged electrical power line infrastructure, I always try to frame my photos without any visible infrastructure. We put up with that infrastructure to ameliorate climate, daylight and communications. That is our way of life.

Quarantine at the edge of town

All of us are experiencing quarantine in one form or another. 

But the edge of town? What is that? Traditionally the edge of town was the place where fertile flat lands were cultivated for agriculture that was more valuable than town housing. And necessary.

So, yesterday I took a walk–quarantine all around. Walked by myself. As I walked across town, I saw an open bakery, an open grocery store and an open drug store.  Everything else was closed.

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The town had plenty signs of spring–the forsythias always shout with joy.

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At the edge of town, I saw the agricultural landscape, the spring green of willow trees and the hopeful construction of a tree house.

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Then I saw the farmhouse–so many activities related to food. Farms are amazing producers and guardians.

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At one entry to the farmhouse, I was reminded of the simplest of their products–available almost any day of the year. Direct from the farm: eggs, jams, Alp cheese, goat cheese.

Quarantined? Take a walk. Check out the edge of town.

Old Age

As I observe old age taking interest in my body, it shades my observations of the landscape.

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This apple tree is also under the influence of old age; yet it has retained a balance even though having experienced extreme events during its lifetime. Everybody struggles through life. But how to achieve balance? That is a mystery. Faith? Hope?

 

Free Beer

Most of the time I take photos of plants, gardens or landscapes where I attempt to share something beyond sense perception. That is my fun.

The other day, not far away, I found this sign. Tomorrow is when? Tomorrow never comes. Now isn’t that the funny truth?

And after all, it is not a stretch to say beer is the ideal people and plants linkage. Ethnobotany at its finest.

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See you there tomorrow for free beer.

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. 

Lunch

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I had lunch, with a couple chums, over at my friend’s place today.

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In case you think it was too early to have a picnic…just nearby the first spring hay was being cut. And, oh how I wish I could share with you that sweet spring green fragrance.

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This is the pasture the morning before it was cut.