Chorin Abbey

The Cistercians founded this gothic abbey in Chorin/Brandenburg in 1258.

After centuries of power and influence, secularization in the 16th century led to a long decay, until it was partially restored under Karl Friedrich Schinkel in the 19th century.

For me, it is a place of contemplation:

Walls and missed opportunities

Passages and impossibilities

Age and decay

Time and loss

Up and Down (Muir Woods II)

What to do with a long day in Muir Woods National Monument?

Let’s begin with the Redwood Creek Trail, but then avoid the crowds by climbing up Canopy trail.

Descend along Fern Trail back to Redwood Creek Trail, and continue up up up Bootjack Trail, all the way to the antique Mountain Theater.

Connect via Old Mine Trail to Dipsea Trail, enjoy the views, and follow it all the way down to the end, closing the loop.

(There were enough water fountains on the way to keep me hydrated.)

Trillium Ovale (Muir Woods I)

At this time of the year, the monthlong Brown here in the Midwest is broken by the appearance of the first Spring wildflower, the Snow Trillium.

I have written too often about it.

At the same time of the year, the Pacific woods already burst with wildflowers.

Here we see the Trillium ovatum, whose white flowers slowly turn pink while they age.

The threefold symmetry sees the occasional exception with the appearance of a quadrillium, which has fourfold symmetry, like the four leaf clover. With astonishment I saw here a specimen with two-fold symmetry of leaves, petals, stamen and sepals. Duollium?

S v Z

Here are some impressions from Tauba Auerbach’s exhibition S v Z at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Their work has been concerned with traditional questions of art – interactions of shape, matter, light, and how to represent them.

The stubborn simplicity of patterns (repetitions in space, iterations in time) is contrasted with a granular reality of the objects themselves, or that of the medium which is chosen to represent them.

Altar/Engine (Details), 2015

Alphabetized Bible, 2006. Bent Onyx, 2012

Non-Invasive Procedure (Detail), 2018

A Flexible Fabric of Inflexible Parts (Details), 2015

Stab/Ghost, 2013. 7S, 7Z, 1S, 2Z (Detail), 2019

Echinofossulo

Last autumn I ordered seeds from the Echinofosssulocactus genus and potted them on October 11. Around October 21, the first green specks had sprouted.

Echinofosssulocacti are (when grown) recognizable by their distinctive wavy ribs. We’ll have to wait.

By November 16, little thorns started to emerge at the top.

As of today, they have grown quite a bit and are getting ready for being repotted soon.

I like things that grow slowly and become resilient.

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, present 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. However, what we have missed is to also capture the organic beauty of every little detail, each sliver of bark.

We still haven’t acquired 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 water shows how everything is in flux. 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?