MountainMeadowDispatch IV – or: The path into MODOR ~ Swiss version

Good and serene afternoon to you – gentle Ladies and Men and dear friends. Hope this finds you well – 
am typing to you from my newly created outdoor office (photos further below) – and it is almost tea-time, but I at least wanted to start on an overdue Dispatch about a hiking day still in Safiental, GR (canton Graubunden) – just the other day –
(and btw – today I found a dangerously good pastry-shop, 15 min walk from here. Ladies  (you know who you are)  if you ever want to avoid excellent pastries of the finest caliber – don’t ever come to switzerland!
Well —
It started all rather innocent –
even before I came to this valley, I’ve heard about the so called Glass Pass — for many centuries the only passage way into the valley (Splugen  was further to the south and not well passable during winter, and it was on higher altitude)  – and the road into Safiental from the north was only created 1885, and the first motorized bus ventured into that valley in the mid 1950’s. Until then it was strictly the original horsepower method or, well: on foot.
And it was across that Glass Pass that the mountain farmers brought their cattle to the town of Thusis for the market place/fair in the fall. The local Walser farmer were/are famous for their well breed cattle.
even brought it all the way south to Lugano — how they accomplished that will have my ever puzzled respect.
So, I was curious to see that particular path – as I was curious to see through what kind of terrain  one can could bring up cattle through the mountains.
Little did I know ….
as I said – it all started rather innocently.
Initially I had wanted to go on the day of the eclipse, that did not work out so well, so I decided to go on tuesday, the day before I was scheduled to leave, onwards to my next residence on  lower elevations in central Switzerland for about one month.
I took the postauto bus (the Yellow Class)  to Safien Platz, 30 min ride, and I had some water with me, some food, one protein/energy bar, some dried meat (local), pieces of apple and off I went. – at the start of the climb, at a bridge crossing the Ribausa (spelling?)  I had some  warm lunch which i brought along. First things first, right?!
This is the shot from where i set out – this shows the opposing valley side – am at approx 1280meters.
When initially enquired with locals about that pass, they assured me:
“Easy peasy – you can easily do it. Not to worry at all.“ And one postauto bus driver said:
“Yes, it’s easy, just the first ½ hour it is really very, very steep” – ah — ok, i morally and emotionally prepared for that … and only that. But what instead transpired was entirely different.
do see below:
It bloody felt like the path into MODOR – I kid you not.
Do you recall the scene when Frodo, Sammye and the Gollum-chap climbed up almost vertical that steep hill into Modor (and later encountered that ghastly spider woman?) that’s what it felt  and looked like. Except I had no companions and no lambas bread either. Eventually I thought I even had Ent sightings – one of whom seemed to be walking with me.
nice try – appreciated the effort!
up and up and up and up and up it went. (can you spot the railing higher up? (only about 25% or less of the path had a railing – otherwise, it was ‘free fall for all’.)
and the point of this photo below, ladies and gents, is:  please do note: it’s that high and steep – I can practically spit onto those tall trees from above!
WHAT was I thinking?
apparently not much .
And I trust that you do spot that railing far below as well, also glued to the mountain side, so it seems. I was so grateful that I had my hiking poles with me. the very same that walked with me on the camino in 2014 (though there I never encountered anything that steep or high up)
at the start of the climb – if one can call it that – I encountered a couple who came down from that pass without any hiking/trekking poles. they were not exactly talkative -I can imagine why – too busy noticing their legs feeling like jell-O on steroids. All wobbly.
how they did climb down without any walking stick aids shall remain a mystery….to me at least. maybe to them as well.
haven’t encountered any Orcs yet –  but then again, was still day-light.
And up and up and up and UP  and UP it went .
Needless to say, by that time I had it finally figured out: more locals were having fun with an unsuspecting tourist – all that ‘easy peasy’ stuff was utter nonsense.
Complete.nonsense.100%.fake-news if there ever was one. either that or I am one of the most out-of shape creature this side of St.Louis.
And I  also realised of course the extend of my naivite’ and innocence (lesser kind people would just call it stupidity) –  it is as follows: the sentence:
“Yes, it’s easy, just the first ½ hour it is really very very steep” – i had for reasons unknown to me, translated with:
“Yes, it’s easy, just the first ½ hour it is really very very steep … and then it will let up and then it will be easier..”
ah – the folly — oh, the ignorance
I realized my mistake — after the first ½ hours of the climb it went from: ‘Really very very steep’ to just plain ‘Very steep’.
The “improvement” was minor of course, since it still just went up and up and up and up…. and I started wondering if I got stuck in some vertical ‘groundhog day’ … because it just kept going up. sometimes I paused every 20 meters, sometimes less, sometimes more. yet, I was still upright, breathing, coherent and moving along.
well folks –  that’s what’s called a MOUNTAIN pass, right? Holland does not have mountain passes and I can see why .
oh boy…
which animal is chasing up cattle up that slope?
good grief.
needless to say, did not encounter anyone else until almost at top. and cattle nowadays fetches a ride with motorized vehicles. Very sensible, that cattle.
of course, it was terribly beautiful .  truly amazing . STUNNING . and I was actually happy that I dared venturing out that way. the air fragrant of grass and herbs. sounds of gushing water from somewhere. warm sunlight – and just as an aside – I noticed that I was nearing the tree-line area. getting so high up that no trees would grow above that line.
of course, just the week prior I had accomplished a similar stunt, but then I had started already at 1,750meters or so. and I might have had an increase of 250+ meters in 2 hours – and of course was above the treeline already then but this current hare-brained endeavour took me more than 500+ meters of elevation change in less than 2hrs. (walking time was probably 1.5 hrs, but of course I paused. plenty.)
folks of the non-hare-brained variety find out that kind stuff before they set out .
(well, I AM practicing. Am still on me training-wheels)
IMG_1327Those guys up there are 3,000 meters … pushing 10,000 feet that is, I believe…
until I got to the actually Glass Pass . I perhaps traversed about 20 meters total of horizontal path. everything else was UP.
at one point I came across a woman who descended. quite elderly . no hiking poles . she said : ’pretty steep’ – to which I responded kindly “it’s going to be getting worse” …
to which she said, probably not hearing me  ‘in my legs and knees all is wobbly and shaking’  to which I thought: this is just the beginning of the descend : oh my. – I advised of plenty of rest and drinking water… – she probably not hearing me. wonder what happened to her.
But that encounter also made me wonder where I would end up?! What would happen to me?!
I was already scanning the horizon for a hut/hay stall I could overnight in case I don’t make it down back to the valley floor.
– for a moment, envisioned myself stuck on the pass –
the last postauto bus would leave Safien p\Platz 5:50pm’ish – would i make it? should I be making it?
as I said – all reallyyyy pretty though. Sight for sore eyes .
still could not believe it that it appeared that I was going to make it up to the pass without passing out and become crow-feed in the process .
eventually I saw other humans – grandpa and grandkid – and some motoric device I did not properly identify initially.  turned out it was a something with a rope, winding up that steep hill the freshly cut grass. amazing sight. some really sturdy tribe of people having survived here for so long .
what can I say – I  obviously made it to the pass – and what does one see?
that’s a trick-question:
more mountains of course!!
and they even had a li’l hotel/restaurant up there. Piz Beverin Restaurant or some such.
and what’s a girl to do?
Rest – Sit on terrace – have some homemade cake with whipped cream!
and a Rivella (some fuzzy swiss drink with a very unique flavour that is impossible to describe)
so while I took in this view – I pondered my fate:
should I overnight here?
should I descent back to Safien Platz?
what if that would be so intense that I won’t be able to walk anymore tomorrow?
hm ….
well – Postauto bus to the rescue!!
Thrice a day a yellow bus comes up here to Glass Pass (from the other side of course) – and the last bus of the day would depart in about 90 minutes.
first I had to research my various pockets to find if I still had enough cash (I did) – and then I decided, before I’d risk being utterly decimated tomorrow due to Jell-O legs or worse, that I would take the postauto bus and the train and another train and another postauto bus again – and be back in Tenna almost 3 hrs later.
did not care. Fine by me.
I swear.
That’s me at the postauto bus stop – with apparently a halo – even if in reverse. have no idea how this effect came about. but there you have it…
perhaps a celestial  or atmospheric “reward” for having made it up there??
and on the way back – between postauto bus switches in Versam Post  — was one hour to wait. did not care. stopped in a ‘gasthaus’ (guest house/restaurant’) called Roessli (something to do w/ horses – might have been an old ‘switch out the horses please’ stop) and had dinner. and a so-so white wine.
view at the evening stop before heading to Tenna
then back in Tenna I stopped by the tiny local church – literally to give thanks for being still in one piece, breathing and upright and walking  – and giving thanks for my amazing time in this remote valley and village. Church was build in 14th hundred something –  pre-reformation.
about 7pm’ish …as i walked into my last night in Tenna.
and some drama shot from the thereabouts area where I walked – eh, climbed&steeped&stumbled that day –  and lived to tell the tale.
And this is where I am now : Central Switzerland, 30 min busride from Luzern/Lucerne (15 km distance) 500meters elevation. Folks actually have  summer here – with the appropriate summer temps.
it’s a nice li’l middle-ground arrangement. Am on a farm (the bells of sheep chime near by … aka 15 meters or less) –  am viewing mountains, see the green, hear some traffice (but don’t see traffice) – am closer to a city, but not in a city, nor suburbs.
cows are somewhere near by as well –  and of course barns. it’s pretty – what can i tell ya ?!
his is the view right in front of me – really like this pear-tree – appears like a leaf-ed angel, spreading its wings.
and if I stand next to that tree, i can see the Zuger See (lake Zug)
had in 4.5 weeks in switzerland more thunderstorms than in 26 yrs in california –  this current one is rather mellow. some from some weeks ago had a marvelous intense khavooomm
alrighty —
hope you found time to read through this dispatch … and if ever you feel that you are nearing a mountain-foto OD state, please do let me know.
ah – forgot to mention – pilgrimed via several busses and trains to EINSIEDELN … THE pilgrimage Abbey in Switzerland with the famous Black Madonna –
just about 90 minutes from here. Had no idea how close it was…

First Violet – intoxicating scents and New Moon / Mercury Retro approaching

firenze - villa castello gennaio

Gennaio aka January – Firenze, Medici garden

This is shivering Gennaio, as depicted in one of the Medici gardens in Florence. How appropriate for him to show up now in January…. right on time.

And already we have our first Mercury Retrograde period approaching – Wed Jan 21 until Feb 10. At the same time, a day prior, it’s NEW MOON …Aquarius New Moon at Zero Degree early in the morning PST of Tuesday the 20th.


First Violet from garden, Jan 2015

Today I was delighted to discover the little treasure in the garden. And Oh the fragrance … how delightful and soothing. Such an elusive scent … Am still searching for an excellent perfume that captures the scent of violets. No such luck yet.

The Meyer Lemon tree also offers fragrant blossoms. I see my future “MiniMargaritas” growing right in front of my eyes 🙂

My current recipe is as follows:   1 shot Tequila    –   1/2 shot Triple sec  –  1 Lime –  1/2 Lemon  –  1/4 Orange  –  1 ice cube mix of water/agave siroup/lime juice    –   plus regular ice cubes

Yes indeed, I am fine-tuning the weekly mini-margarita’s. The ice cube mix came about sometime last summer when I had the idea to simmer water, add agave siroup and lemon or lime juice (there were lots of lemon on the tree and I was looking for a way to use the lemons before spoilage). When siroup dissolved, I filled the liquid into an ice-cube tray – ready for use whenever needed. Add’s  a tiny bit of sweet amongst all those puckering-up liquids. I quite like this version too … tastes even more mellow.

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Chinese carved box – small – Gift of a friend I haven’t seen in ages

Just before New Years Eve I was looking for some fragrant flowers for the flat … on a budget of course. When I asked a kind florist in the neighborhood, he suggest those: Paperwhite Narcissus. Brilliant I thought, those are attributed to Persephone / Hades and I also included them in the painting, as seen below. Their scent is also delightful. Too bad they last only for a few days …. but it’s marvelous nonetheless.

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Narciss flowers – in morning light – New Years eve

And these Tulips were a find @ Berkeley Bowl for 1.99$. Such bright spots in the longish winter nights and still  somewhat darkish days.

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Tulips – in morning light

And I also though enjoy those foggy and quiet mornings in the hills ….

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Fog morning in the hills –

Which are often followed by glowing afternoons …

The year is still so young – and I have no insights into what will unfold or where paths will lead me. Or if there will be a path. – 2014 was full of paths I’d thought I wouldn’t be able to traverse. The most outward manifestation of that was the Caminho Portuguese from Lisbon to Santiago di Compostela …. which on one level still continues.

One of the main features of the camino was that, when starting the day, I would never know where I’d get my next meal from or where I would sleep. Granted, I was not a mendicant, pennyless pilgrim, I had funds to pay for food and lodging, but still … the not-knowing and uncertainty always walked alongside with me. And I was unperturbed by it, since I had a feeling of ‘rightness’ of this whole endeavour. – There were instances in which life surprised me greatly with demonatrations of how ‘looked after’ I was, in spite of being in places where I have never been before, did not know anyone, nor spoke the language … and while being in one predicament or another.

The grand finale was indeed being in Santiago de Compostela were a intended 1-2 nights stay turned into a 5 nights stay because I got very sick, very suddenly. Communication with other pilgrims who I had met on the camino was not possible since the place where I stayed had no WiFi, etc. So I was indeed alone. It was quite dire, even though was no pain involved. None. Not only did I look like death-warmed-up, but I felt the part spot-on. – Still, there was no sense of worry, concern, anxiety. It simply did not arise. That was a new one for me, to be sure. – A bit later, still while being very weak, there was a challenge put before me, yet there was no indication that I could met the challenge, given the state I was in. But there was also that strange inner knowing that felt: “If life places this “problem” in front of me, life will also provide the ‘solution’.” – I just did not perceive the how and when. Did not have the foggiest. All I could do or be was take it a moment at a time, and to move very slowly. Ideas came, strength was provided to execute those ideas, and so forth. And within 24hours I was able to meet that challenge, while slowly starting to be able to eat again. It was about 48 hrs with no food, and sleeping 36 hrs more or less non-stop, interrupted with sweats and shivers, etc.  Now it seems all a bit of a blurr … but I remember thinking that if I could live with that kind of ‘faith’ or attitude in my life in California … I’d be ‘fine’.

And now we shall see just how ‘fine’ will look like…. while I continue to look for suitable employment and income.


Catedrale Se’, Porto, Portugal

A few days ago a friend shared a quote by Hillman with me that I shall forever treasure. It also prompted me to research a bit more into his work, since I have not read much by him at all, inspite of knowing of him for long years now. I found other quotes which I like to share …

James Hillman quotes:

“Not just any talk is conversation; not any talk raises consciousness. Good conversation has an edge: it opens your eyes to something, quickens your ears. And good conversation reverberates: it keeps on talking in your mind later in the day; the next day, you find yourself still conversing with what was said. That reverberation afterward is the very raising of consciousness; your mind’s been moved. You are at another level with your reflections.”

“Loss means losing what was We want to change but we don’t want to lose. Without time for loss, we don’t have time for soul.”

“Tell me what you yearn for and I shall tell you who you are. We are what we reach for, the idealized image that drives our wandering.”

Also a few days ago I came across some jokes in my email files and other docs … voila’

“A truck driver and his friend, a data analyst, go camping. Around midnight, the driver shakes his friend awake and says “Look at the sky and tell me what you can figure out from what you see!” The analyst says, “Well, I see the stars. Many more stars then we could see in town. And I have read that planets have been discovered around other stars. And that conditions on some of these planets is thought to be conducive to life. From that I conclude it is likely we are not alone in the universe.” “I conclude,” said the driver, “that someone has stolen our tent!”

And here one of my very favorites …

The Best Stress Test ever …. please see below ….and keep scrolling slowy…

I am not sure exactly how this works, but this is amazingly accurate.

The picture below has 2 identical dolphins in it. It was used in a case study on  stress levels at  the Mayo Clinic and later at Fletcher Medical Center in Burlington Look  at both dolphins jumping out of the water.

The dolphins are identical. A  closely monitored, scientific study revealed that, in spite of the fact that  the dolphins are identical, a person under stress will find many differences  between the two dolphins .   

The  more differences a person finds, the more stress that person is  experiencing. Look  at the photograph and if you find more than one or two differences you may  need to take a vacation.

No Need to Reply, I ‘ll be on Vacation !!

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Golden Lights and FULLMOON on St.Nicolas day (Samichlaus)

This late summer and fall light here in California truly appears as liquid gold. So often I find myself stepping outside my li’l chalet-like room in the hills and gaze at the skies and the golden light streaming … A photo image barely captures it’s magic, especially not the simple mini iPad thingy I use for taking pictures. Still … it’s an echo of that marvel and splendour.

Even though it is now too cool (for me) to sit outside – and luckily even too wet (we had a nice storm this past week…yiphee!) to sit outside on the teak, I still often spend time in the little plot of garden where my plants reside. There are weeds to pull, leaves to remove, roses to prune and lovely things to admire and interesting scents to inhale…

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Another morning glory peeking through the cedars

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First Bird-of-Paradise of the year ….

The reason that you haven’t heard much from me in the past 5 weeks was not due to me getting lost in the garden, but flying off to WestYorkshire again. Long story, that won’t be told, not even in the short version; but here are a few images for your viewing pleasure.

This spiffy stony bit of wisdom-encouragement I found around the corner of the cottage of where we were residing …

Think it is MOST interesting to find this statement on a Mechanics Institute, posted there almost a 150 years ago. Was it a reminder to people who studied and worked there? – that even when dealing with mechanics, physics and such measure-able topics, it does not preclude from ones duty to know one-self.

How very very timely, me thinks.

Wonder if they would have that motto installed above each Apple store?

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Early November in WestYorkshire

It was my first time in 28 years that I have been in Europe in the month of November … I thoroughly lost the talent to deal with bleak gray skies and temperatures below 15C (60F) – I knew that before I went, it was simply re-enforced with this visit. Though the skies in WestYorkshire were lovely to behold – and I even took to some walks in the frigid temps of 8C and similar degrees. But afterwards, the strong, hot Yorkshire tea and ginger-cake tasted even better….

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Sunday afternoon walk – WestYorkshire

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St.Thomas Beckett church – Heptonstall….

…where I met the vicar who – as I found out a few days later – had also just completed the Camino Frances, on the Santiago di Compostela. He was to give a talk in the village, which I was to miss because I would have left already. But I contacted him and we briefly met for tea/caffe’ and cookies a few hours before I departed… And we shall meet again when I return hopefully next summer, to share more camino tales.

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FullMOON rising – WestYorkshire – Nov 6th

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WestYorkshire moors

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Sunday afternoon walk – WestYorkshire

The light started to fade already around 15:30 or 16:00hr, depending the cloud-cover; and it was only early November… how would it be like now, one month later? Getting dark around 15:00hr’ish? Sobering thought …

The rest of the journey was grueling, so I won’t elaborate. I am grateful that it is well and restored now somewhat …


Morning Tranquility – ThanksGiving Day Nov 2014

Last weekend I set up the Advent decoration – to set some seasonal tones also indoors. I love the candlelight, and the scent of small cedar branches.

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Early Morning on 1. of Advent

Today I went back into the garden and saw more beauties … which I gently collected. Seeing them arranged on the steps like this I thought it looked like a painting … Bird of Paradise, Calla Lilies, Carmelias, a Rose … and I even discovered that in a ‘forgotten’ pot, now Hyacinths start to blossom and exude their heavy scent. Such beauty, and that in December …

And below the last photo of the day — I had planted some seedlings many months ago – and forgotten to make a note of it. As they grew bigger and greener,  I started to wonder what kind of veggies did I plant? Today when I looked, it now appears to be Miss and Mister Broccoli. Would that be correct? Please have a look. thank you!

It also reminded me of, or showed me, how often we plant seeds of something … our thoughts, our actions, our hopes, our desires… and then completely forget about it, not making a note of it. And when we see the outgrowth, the blossoming , the fruits of our hopes, thoughts and actions…we often don’t connect it, recognize it with what we have planted months or years earlier. I surely don’t or didn’t …

Very Best Wishes,

Warmly, C

Now in “Scorpio” land … post Eclipse weeks – and Mercury direct again.

What a treat the sights of the High Sierras are – and I witnessed my first snowfall in manyyyy years. Was actually very enjoyable – to view the snow dance while resting in a cozy room.

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the next day – and the ones prior – it was like this:

Featured imageI was very happy on the trail with my Camino walking poles and ARIAT shoes with their familiar sounds for crunching the pebbles or dry pine needles while I explored again a bit of the area around the retreat. All my Camino-aquired ‘shape’ was nowhere to be found or felt and it was back to huffing and puffing through the landscape. But what a landscape it is….and the scents of the pines: marvelous simple wonders indeed.

and when I arrived home again – I had a lovely garden surprise …. pretty and fragrant

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and these three fellows here below practically jumped into my bag prior to departure from the Sierras – apparently feeling adventurous and wanting to explore a bit the coastal regions of California perhaps. Not sure if my teak-table was quite what they had in mind regarding their adventure ambitions, but that’s where these chaps ended up … for now.

They do have company  though… the  old cedar trees are very close by. And … I even planted a baby tree some time ago … now a Baby Cedar. Am actually planting trees now. Who’d thought? — and already have an even babier baby-cedar in another pot. Smaller pot of course. But that one seemed too shy for a photo taking session. So it will be for another day. But here is my first Cedar Baby …

I am still in my annual deep-denial about the approaching autumn and winter season – but at least I have updated my closet and it now features woolen clothing, much cashmere and other warm things.  Three neat stacks of sweaters: Black – Red – Cream. – (Wonder why my green “mainly-for-St-Patrick’s- Day” sweater ended up?) Pants: all black or grey. Hmm, I am realizing that I am thoroughly a very, very boring winter dresser. Oh well …. I shall bear this curious affliction with dignity 🙂

In  the other “news-of-the-week”: I’ve also attended a workshop with my martial arts teacher Master Lam (Oct 18&19, a few miles down from where  I live) – It’s an internal martial arts form, also called “Zhan Zhuang” – or “Standing like a tree”.

No, I am not being sarcastic, that’s what it’s called – but I am sure you appreciate the irony of me choosing a style that is about standing still. Needless to say, I love it ….

This is a video series I discovered many years ago & saved the bookmark of the link. Thought it was brilliant. And: But: I did nothing. – Then in January this year I thought: If I ever get to go on that Camino, I’d better get cracking aka exercising. – And I remembered those video’s that were filmed almost 20years ago in London and China by a UK TV station. Was very successful apparently. – Now, this time I bothered to notice his name, and researched it online, and voila’: turned out that Master Lam now lives: here! 3 miles from my flat…In that case I could no longer justify continued doing nothing – so I went there on a Saturday morning in the pouring rain (oh, those were the days….) – and thus finally started my internal martial arts class and practice… Standing still like a tree! Curious but true:  you’d be surprised how one can develop a decent sweat by just standing there … like a tree. In the Water posture, or Earth, or Metal … and the charming Fire posture. (It is called like that for a reason, let me assure you).

“In gains, be tranquil.

In losses, be mild.

To struggle is inevitable

Just abide by nature.”

Since it is very intense to be standing still like a tree, and I certainly wasn’t prepared to spend two days like that … Master Lam and his son Tin had also prepared a presentation at the beginning of the workshop – sharing the philosophy behind that particular path.

“Fortune and Misfortune are from the same doorstep.

Gain and loss are neighbors.

Not even the Gods and Sages could separate them.”

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In Praise of the Glory of the Golden Light of October days ….

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such magnificence – and simplicity

There is so much stillness around while i sit in my li’l garden. Even with the distant freeway roar somewhere in the distance, which can be heard stronger or less, depending how the wind blows. It is not silence … it is a stillness that is present even in the noise of a very metropolitan area.

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“live with intention. walk to the edge. listen hard. practice wellness. play with abandon. laugh. choose with no regret. continue to learn. appreciated your friends. do what you love. live as if this is all there is”. – mary anne radmacher

this is a quote on a postcard i bought some years ago – and as a classic, always up-to-date

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I truly hope that you can create time and space for yourself to enjoy and relish in this golden light . so it won’t be a ‘winter of our discontent ‘  but one during which we can reflect upon the previous seasons ~

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A Song of the Woods

by Winifred Sackville Stoner, Jr.

“My leaves are turning crimson,” the giant oak tree said,
“It’s almost time these children should seek their winter’s bed,
But how they still cling to me and gleam with crimson hue,
They truly are more lovely than cirrus clouds of blue.

“And now throughout the forest – list! hear their voices ring,
But ’tis in tones of sadness and sighing they now sing –
‘Alas! ’tis gone, fair summer, and winter’s reign is near,
He cruelly strips the forest of all her summer cheer
By killing all her lovely leaves and likewise flowers gay
And driving all her fairy folk to homes of far away.'”

sometimes i can be a bit of a quoteaholic — this time it’s courtesy of Mister Churchill — Salute!

Lunar FullMoon Eclipse Wednesday Oct 8th @ 15deg Aries –

Eclipse Season to me is a time to reflect on beginnings and endings – and a Lunar eclipse brings in the thought of the play of the opposites. Sun in one sign (Libra) and Moon in the opposing sign (Aries) as in this eclipse.

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before the full moon ….

which in turn reminded me of the following quote by Daistez T Suzuki:

“It is the entry into the life of non-duality where one is no longer caught by the play of opposites, where self is not set over against other, nor are ideals in conflict with realities … As he is now one with his tasks, they are not to him mere obstacles to be disposed of so that he may begin the business of “really living.” His tasks are his life … It is in the uncreative life that the does is separated from what he does.”

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and such are the contemplations that come easy when being an appropriate “Lounge-potato” here…

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while enjoying the warm and golden light of October days ….

Featured imageI do so love these days, the air is gentle and golden, the sounds full of peace,  and Miss or Mister Hummingbird are flying by in the afternoon, paying visits to various blossoms in the garden…. and I feel so very very fortunate!

Featured imageand not only because I can harvest Meyer-Lemons from my li’l tree that are future contributors to my weekly “Mini Margaritas”.

Perhaps I feel so fortunate because slowly-slowly it is dawning on me that to me it is becoming more ‘real’ each day: “We live my mystery and not by explanation.” – first heard it said by a Sufi Teacher, and it really resonated deeply within. And it also reminded me of a quote by Albert Einstein which I have posted onto the back of my un-smart mobile phone: “There are two ways to live life. One as if nothing is a miracle, the other everything is a miracle.”

Many years ago, after another job ended and no new one was lined up – I remembered a saying I’ve read or heard somewhere, which stated: “There is only one Giver.” – …. well, if there is only One Giver, it follows that there is only One Taker, no?

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“Solitude does not mean living apart from others;  it means never living apart from one’s Self.”  Parker Palmer

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Evening twilight …

Wishing you many serene days with the golden light of the changing seasons ….

Autumn Equinox – and New Moon in Libra a day later – 22nd & 23rd September 2014

fountain next to my entry door –

LOVE these gentle days in the autumn in California – and I had lots of lovely visitors to share those with this month. What a treat …. Sitting out in the garden, on teak and pine, next to those deeply and mysteriously scented roses while enjoying Yorkshire Gold with Curd Pie  or freshly baked waffles … what a treat.

Tomorrow, the September New Moon, is the most potent day for a ritual called TARPANA – A ritual I was introduced to while living in India. It’s in honor to ones ancestors. And anyone interested in learning more about this ritual and background, I invite to read a brief text written by Robert Svoboda, MD – who I met many years ago. (He’s not only an ayurveda vaidya (doctor), but a fellow astrologer.) This chapter – which I will attach at the end of this post – is from the book “Prakriti – your ayurvedic constitution” – ISBN: 978-0-9656-2083-3. Best book I’ve read about (intro to) Ayurveda.  Hope you will find it interesting and something to consider offering as well …

Ceramic made by Vincenzo, a dear Swiss friend in Ticino, and tree-bark found on the ground @ Lake Tahoe; Mica and tiny pine corns from the Black Hills in South Dakota; sea gifts from St.Croix & wax from Florence

New Moon is exact tomorrow night (Pacific coast here) @ 23:14hr according to my spiffy li’l astro calendar. Equinox tonight, Sep 22nd @ 19:29hr. It’s the sun’s entry into LIBRA … yearly encouragement to reflect on balance in life – to put it very simply.

Prayer flag – gifts from a dear friend, bestowing Blessings to the World – and home grown lemons for future “Mini-Margaritas” …..

New Moon’s are auspicious times to start new cycles –  There is always something we can start anew …. like planting new seeds, repotting plants and flowers, etc.

Wishing you a sacred and heartfelt Equinox time!

View – inches in front of me on a sunny autumn day

“Tarpana  — (Libations of water, milk etc) By Dr. Robert E. Svoboda

There are no permanent physical or mental cure for constitutional weaknesses (constitution as defined by Ayurveda, the science of life and health). Once you have identified yourself as a V, P, or K type, or a combination of two of these, you are stuck with that constitution, and all its benefits and defects, until you die.

There are only two ways to escape. One way to escape is open to you if you are a spiritual aspirant, and follow strict spiritual disciplines. Under such controlled conditions there will be little occasion for your constitution to display itself. It will not change, but it will not disturb you. The other way involves the ancient ritual of Tarpana. Related to the Sanskrit word Trpti, which means satiation or satisfaction, Tarpana is a process of gratifying your ancestors.

There is a Law of Nature known as Bija Vrksha Nyaya: the Law of Seed and Tree. Your seeds are your genes and chromosomes, the essence of your parents’ germ plasm (plasma). You are the tree, the product of those seeds. Half your genes come from one parent, and half from the other. No matter how far you try to distance yourself from your parents, in space, time, or interaction, your genes and their genes are identical, and resonate with one another. Your parents’ emotions are bound to resonate with your emotions, no matter how far distant you may be from them, because of this fundamental identity. This is why a certain telepathic communication sometimes exists between parent and child.

Because your parents’ genes originated in your grandparents, your emotions will be influenced by their emotions, and by the emotions of your great-grandparents, and so on, back at least seven generations. Even though most of your ancestors are already dead the subtle effects of their personalities remain in your genetic environment and continue to affect you.

Ginger – in garden

Homeopathic medicine discusses miasms, inherited weaknesses that are passed down from generation to generation in a family. These inherited weaknesses are referred to in Sanskrit as Kutumba Dosha (faults in the family). Ayurvedic rejuvenation works on the physical manifestations of these faults. Tarpana works more deeply, reducing the emotional charges, which have accumulated in you as a result of the activities of your forebears.

Suppose one of your ancestors was overly fond of eating, so fond that he or she fantasized about food all day long. All cravings are forms of energy, which are broadcast into the Ether (space) with every thought. Some of these thoughts will be rational and sensible, but many will be obsessive. You, who are permanently tuned to your ancestors’ wavelengths, automatically receive these subtle broadcasts, which will induce you to become obsessive about food if you are susceptible to them.

Anyone who is really obsessive about food is likely to be thinking of food at the moment of death. This final broadcast message is more powerful than all those which went before, because it is transmitted with all the anguish of an unfillable desire. Because of the power behind this desire, and the fact that the individual whose rational mind could partly negate it no longer exists, this last wish affects you much more powerfully than any living wishes can.

[Note: Compare Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 8, Verse 13: “Uttering the monosyllable Om- the Brahman (God)- and remembering Me, he who departs thus, leaving the body, attains to the supreme goal.”

Also Gita, Ch. 8, Verse 10: “At the time of death, with unshaken mind, endowed with devotion and by the power of Yoga, fixing the whole life-breath in the middle of the two eyebrows, he reaches that resplendent Supreme Person.”]

Tarpana enables you to negate these desires. Once they are gone, the pressure on your genes to make you obsessive about food eases, and your diet and habits can induce other of your genes to begin to function, which changes your emotional climate. As long as these unseen influences continue to affect you, no amount of diet or routine can ever eliminate them because they do not strike at the source. 99% of human and chimpanzee genes are identical; the differences between the two species occur because some genes are expressed more than others. You are your own creator, ceaselessly creating yourself from your own genes with the help of your physical and mental food and habits.

The traditional ritual of Tarpana is complex, but its essence is simple. It is much like the All Soul’s tradition, when people visit their relatives in the cemetery. In preparation, consider what one food item your parent or grandparent was fondest of. May be it is the apple strudel your grandmother used to bake, or the ale your father used to drink. That food will act as a vehicle for your emotion.

Sit comfortably facing south and visualize your dead ancestors, one by one, as far back as you can remember. Make each one sit in front of you. Telling them you want to help release them from any residual earthly desires they might have, offer them a spoonful of water, a spoonful of milk, and a spoonful of sesame seeds, preferably the black variety. These offerings are the same for everyone.

Then offer a little of the special item, with the heartfelt wish that this will satisfy any residual cravings and allow that individual, wherever he or she is, to continue with their own progression towards greater integration and clarity. You then request them to return whence they came, and feed the food you have offered to an animal, or put it into a river or the ocean. It is good to repeat this annually, preferably on the same New Moon Day each year. The best days for Tarpana are New Moon Days, especially those which fall in September (Pitr Paksha).

You need not even believe in reincarnation, or even life after death, to perform Tarpana. Your parents and grandparents are still alive inside you, in your genes. You are simply projecting a part of your personality, contacting it, and requesting it to be pleased with you and to relinquish any inappropriate influence it may have over you. This visualization releases you from any unhealthy psychological habits you may have as a result of the influence of these previous beings who also shared your genes, and of the images you have of those beings.

Tarpana is especially important for ancestors you knew personally. If you loved them, you show them your love in the only way remaining to you, by remembering them and offering part of yourself to them as a token of your love. If your relationship with them was marred by negative emotions, Tarpana allows you to forgive them, to heal the relationship by sacrificing your negativity and offering them the healing power of your love. Thankfulness for the genes which have given you life, and forgiveness for those genes which have limited your existence, transport the sacrifice to its intended target.

If you are convinced that this procedure can actually help eliminate any negativity remaining between you and the image you hold of your ancestor, it will. Faith is essential for it to work; you must make your offering with complete sincerity. Faith can truly make you whole.

Faith can make our society whole as well. Tarpana is important to all of us who have forgotten our roots. It creates the bond which should exist between our ancestors and us. Hindu tradition regards Tarpana as a duty, which every child must perform for its parents. When we accept this responsibility we relinquish forgetfulness. Tarpana is an act of remembrance, which solidifies the link between the generations. By opening ourselves to our ancestral influences and forgiving our forebears their imperfections, we open ourselves to their accumulated wisdom, which can cement our culture together.”

“Prakriti – your ayurvedic constitution” – ISBN: 978-0-9656-2083-3

more gifts from the sea – ceramic by Vincenzo – and handicraft item from an old lady in Obidos, Portugal.

Liquid Diamonds

During the night I could hear another wind change  … and I was wondering what it might bring – and this morning early I saw it … the wind brought clouds which brought liquid diamonds.
 And the air is fragrant again here in the garden – Love it. And am so very grateful for those few drops of “Nass” – of moisture and wet air.
 It also reminded be living in times of the monsoon …
 And speaking of the monsoon – a few days ago I found an old journal, written in 1987 when I lived in India. All the heat, dust and fragrance of that ancient land seemed to rush out of those pages onto the here-and-now of California in the 2010’s
Within the journal were also several pages of handwritten quotes – here are a few I’d like to share with you along with more images of the liquid diamonds…
 “TO know someone here or there with whom you can feel there is an understanding, in spite of distances or thoughts unexpressed, that can make of this earth a garden.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
 “Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.” Leonardo da Vinci

Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.” Rainer Maria Rilke
 “Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire.” W.B.Yeats
 “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” Shakespeare
 “We can be knowledgeable with another man’s knowledge, but we cannot be wise with another man’s wisdom.” M.DeMontaigne
 “A man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action.” (C.R.b.W. = can’t remember by whom”

It has been a very tender and evocative day – and now I watch how the rain clouds move east – hopefully releasing more moisture onto California soil…

Serene and Restful Labour Day to you …

Morning Glory - September 1, 2014

Morning Glory – Sept 1, 2014

By Kahlil Gibran – The Prophet – “Work”

“Then a ploughman said, “Speak to us of Work.”

And he answered, saying:

You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.

For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life’s procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.

Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?

Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.

But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,

And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,

And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret….”

to read the complete text:

 Duomo frontdoor pillars

Orvieto – 2009 – Catedrale -Detail of door entrance

One of my favorite lines of his writings on Work are these:

And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.

Work is love made visible.


Porto – 2014 – Silver platter in museum of Catedrale

And it was in the past few weeks that my attention was turned again onto the topic of work and vocation. And again I am listening for these fine threads that life weaves, for me to finally see – again – and ask: what am I summoned to do? to be?

Or in the words of one of my favorite Jungian authors, James Hollis, who wrote in his most recent book “HAUNTINGS” in the preface: “ Such engagements with mystery are what life calls us to. It is not what we want but what life, apparently, wants of us.”

photo 1

Morning view while enjoying a cup of good caffe’ with hot milk

 For more books by James Hollis:

kind gift from friends who brought this back from Istanbul/Turkey

kind gift from friends who brought this back from Istanbul/Turkey



Those who are most concerned with philosophy and the heavens are dearest to her. Those who have been instructed by her she raises aloft to heaven, for it is a fact that imagination and the power of thought lift men’s souls to heavenly heights.[7]

Urania, o’er her star-bespangled lyre,
With touch of majesty diffused her soul;
A thousand tones, that in the breast inspire,
Exalted feelings, o er the wires’gan roll—
How at the call of Jove the mist unfurled,
And o’er the swelling vault—the glowing sky,
The new-born stars hung out their lamps on high,
And rolled their mighty orbs to music’s sweetest sound.

—From An Ode To Music by James G. Percival

During the Renaissance, Urania began to be considered the Muse for Christian poets. In the invocation to Book 7 of Milton’s Paradise Lost, the poet invokes Urania to aid his narration of the creation of the cosmos, though he cautions that it is “[t]he meaning, not the name I call” (7.5)