Patience

Our human sense of time is deeply flawed — linear, homocentric, short.

The majestic redwoods of the Pacific Northwest capture our centuries in moments of their existence – past, presence and future become one.

Each year a circle, circle after circle, in perpetuity.

Time here has become space that is occupied by fragile instances of hope.

Burnt, scarred, fractured, hollowed, and yet still alive, stubbornly providing support for what is more important.

We humans have managed to reproduce the size of these trees in our cities. But what we missed is to also capture the organic beauty of every little detail, each sliver of bark.

We still haven’t learned the patience and the determination to allow something to happen.

Let’s not forget that trees will remember us when we are all gone.

Birth (Ferns 7)

My first visit to Fern Canyon in summer was shear awe, with the abundance of fern and growth. In winter, time seems to be in balance.

Everything is suspended, in space and time. This is a moment of not-knowing, of anxiety.

After descending into the canyon, the intense presence of clear running water makes it clear that this is transition. Are we ready?

Curiously, the walls of the canyon give safety and comfort and embrace.

The walls move back and forth, and eventually recede and relax.

Are you there, too?

Trillium Falls Trail

After visiting Fern Canyon in Northern California, the Trillium Falls Trail offers a convenient loop to conclude a rainy day.

What do our short years matter to these trees? Having this much time, and not messing up, not failing, is not for our kind.

Even falling takes an eternity here.

The giant redwoods carry themselves with a grace that is beyond us, and create a space that is entirely their own.

Palimpsests of textured bark record stories of pain and healing. If only we had skin like that.

Or is it us who are blessed not to know what is contained in so much time and space, because we could never bear it?

Is seeing time pass quickly really healthier for us?

And is fragility only possible because others bear the space and time that is intolerable for us?

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Three and a Half

The first three pictures are from the summer in 2018. My daughter and I were on our way back from Northern California to San Francisco.

We stopped for a night in Mendocino, precariously perched on a cliff, the morning fog obstructing the view of the beginning day.

The last three pictures were taken this January, 3 1/2 years later, again on our way back, again in Mendocino.

This time the evening clouds leave the view open.

What happened in these 3 1/2 years? And what will happen in the next 3 1/2 years?

Humboldt Lagoons

The Humboldt Lagoons in Northern California offer plenty exposure to the elements, even on a mild winter day.

Walking the dark sand bank that separates the ocean from the lagoon and becomes a search.

Nothing could be more evidently temporary, but still life holds on.

Shouldn’t we live so that our life becomes a story worth telling?

This place – like each of us – is a challenge – what words, what language can contain it?

Winterreise (Berlin XVIII)

Any mention of a Winterreise evokes Franz Schubert’s song cycle from 1827 based on the poems by Wilhelm Müller.

Anselm Kiefer’s tight installation with the same title at the Diversity United exhibition in Berlin displays a wintry landscape on a stage in a narrow optical perspective.

Actors appear as labels on wooden tags: Names like Joseph von Eichendorff, Madame de Staël, Ulrike Meinhoff, Hermann Hesse and many others make it clear that the scope is larger than German Romanticism from the 19th century.

The extension happens in space, towards France, and in time towards our century.

The choice of objects include mushrooms from a fairy tale forest as well as war relics: A discrepancy between imagination and reality that has only been partially processed by the actors-writers on stage.

Schubert’s and Kiefer’s Winterreise both warn us about illusions. Why do we never listen?

Below is a stereo pair for creating a 3D illusion for those of us capable of cross-eyed viewing.