Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Redwood grove (loop trail)

 Today with my friends Irene and Cooper I saw the tallest and oldest trees on earth. They showed me the redwoods where threes can be 2200 years old. We were in a 40-acre grove of ancient redwood trees. The lop is a bit over one Km. The beauty of these trees is overwhelming their  power awe inspiring and soothing. they are gentle giants.

 Their barks attracted me, their power gave me peace because when one of the giants topples over, several new ones will grow from the root system. Imposing and elegant, filtering the light in a most luminous way, inspiring people to protect the area so that it became the Henry Cowell redwood State Park. Here preservationist have done a great job. We saw deer, heard the whistle of the train  on which in the past people come to have an elegant feast in this grove... May it be preserved, these  living witnesses of centuries have a lot to tell us, through the 2200 two rings that tell their story and the story of the area.

On the left you see an extremely rare white albino Sequoia. It survives because it gets food from the normal root system...

So much beauty. We even saw a group of mule deer, walking over the sunlight dappled terrain... in total harmony with each other and the trees.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Chicago to Santa Cruz - the ocean

After a long hard day with three flights for which I had a boarding card were canceled which was only the beginning of a a quite chaotic situation: 2000 flights were canceled in Chacago O'hare because someone poured fuel on the computers in the control tower and then tried to stab himself to death. 60.000 people got stranded and finding a room when traveling with a pet is in normal times hard enough... Departing was done as 20 years ago with commands by the control  tower, no fancy assistance by computers.Any way I was picked up the next day on San Francisco by Irene and she was so thoughtful that she took the coastal road, so I saw and heard the surf, enjoyed the light and the landscape and felt a lot better
 What awaited me was a warm nest, a cozy home and beautiful coastal city. I could live there. ee I saw a seal, heard a sea lion and we walked the beach with all the dogs enjoying the outing. I am grateful that Doggy Dog traveled so well without barking or anything. This morning we went to see the 2.200 Years old redwood grove... But more of that later... I am grateful that all the passengers finally made it to their destination and I give thanks for good friends...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Night at the opera- Elektra

A friend received from Klara, the classic radio station in Belgium, two VIP seats for Elektra, an opera by Richard Strauss, so I ended up in this bunch of opera going people, starting out with a glass of champaign and a divine chocolate mouse. I like to watch the filing in of people, to listen to the civilized hum of voices. The text, or libretto is based on a theatre text by Hofmannsthal. This seasons theme is 'Onmacht': Powerlessness... Max Reinhardt is the director of this chilling performance. The story: Klyt√§mnestra, Elektra's mother  together with her lover Aighistos killed her husband Agamemnon. Elektra is out for revenge, she becomes crazy, delusional, bitter, scheming and is taunting her mother. Chrysothemis is the other daughter who wants love and to have babies. She wants to escape the logic of revenge choosing for life. Orestes, the brother, is thought dead but he is alive and quite willing to perform the avenging act for Elektra, who by the way had dug up the ax used to kill her father so that in a kind of poetic justice his two murderers are killed by the same weapon. (I always loved Greek mythology, yet the murders, the incest among gods and royal families would sometimes be too much... ) Back to music and art: The role of Elektra is quiet a load, the grandiose Gertrud Eysoldt is always present on the stage. It is a heavy role in this one hour and forty-seven minutes opera. The role of the younger sister Chrysothemis was in excellent hands, a real nice performance, Orestes too was great. All the character parts were excellent as was the choir.
Yet most destabilizing was the decor by Patrick Bannwart and Maria Wolgast. The queen had been offering every day animals to the gods to give her peace and the scene where these animals fall into and on the stage is gruesome. When the blood flows over the walls it is disconcerting. What to me was the message of this opera is that by shedding blood, only more blood is shed in the end. Rache, paying back, avenging, wraak, an eye for an eye... it doesn't work. Stop violence... Make love, not war...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Guerilia nature in the city

 Walking through town, I started to notice how a small birch was pushing its way through the concrete... and kept growing. And soon enough there were cellars with an abundant life under their steel grid. Soon enough there were ferns where I saw no soil.
All kinds of small flowers and even very briefly a small white mushroom, all blackened to dust in a few days and then others springing up. Yes, it is autumn, yet this will to live, to survive in the urban landscape fascinated me.
These improbable compositions lend a special touch of beauty to the streets I walk. They draw my attention to the abstraction of lines, to the simpleness of color and the futility of pulling out the new tender buttons. They have decided to try and get through autumn unscathed or to return when pulled out or cut off. I prefer these streets where life imposes itself, the barren, clean lifelessness is to me uninteresting. Best are the dark alleys. Where nobody bothers the plants, where impermanence just lasts this bit longer.