ELEMENTAL ABUNDANCE

You are crazy, my child.
You must go to Berlin.

Franz von Suppé, 1800

Especially in spring an irresistible desire for yet another unknown land emerges suddenly at dusk somewhere in the nowhere. Time for a small picture story of Berlin through enigmatic shallows and at multiple urban shores.

Can you hear me?

Word War II and the later division of Berlin have led to a lot of unused infrastructure, railways, empty factories and abandoned places till today. So there are really many possibilities getting lost in the labyrinth of the town.

Looking for enlightenment in a deserted factory at Treptow

Kitsch in an allotment garden at Charlottenburg

The city is changing quickly every day, but the spirit used to be indeed much more rebellious here in former times. Some wild street art reflects these eternal inflammatory ambitions sprouting from undergrounds.

Mural at Kreuzberg near Moritzplatz

Former railway tunnel at natural park Südgelände-Gleisdreieck

Large urban areas are covered with lakes and endless woods on sandy soil left by glaciers of the last ice age. Here the approaching predatory and brutal gentrification of many city districts does not play any role so far.

Krossinsee at Köpenick in early April

The journey is not yet over here – just a short excursion of my homeland today, thanks for reading.

Painting at Bernauer Str. reminding to Berlin’s division (1961-1989)

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Mértola’s 10th Islamic Festival

 

 

THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF ROCKS

In this interesting post Sharon raises some questions which can not be answered however. Have a look for fascinating visions about rocks.

Echoes in the Mist

Arunachala

By Sharon St Joan

No serious person in the modern world really believes that rocks are conscious. There are a few exceptions which we’ll come to in a moment.

Watching the TV series, The Universe, being shown on the H2 channel, one can absorb fascinating facts. Underneath the vast atmosphere of Jupiter, for example, lies an ocean – not an ordinary ocean, but an ocean of hydrogen that is brighter than the sun and intensely blue, also hotter than the surface of the sun.

0105-4x5color.ai

In between the planets of the solar system lie immensely vast spaces, so large as to be incomprehensible – and far vaster distances separate the galaxies from each other. The universe is expanding. Not only is it expanding, but the rate of expansion, counter-intuitively, is speeding up, not slowing down. Our galaxy is zooming at an ever increasing rate of speed away from all other…

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TREEHOUSES – JUST A GREEN DREAM?

“In the Norse tradition ‘crossing the Black Forest’
came to signify penetrating the barriers between
one world and another.”              (Francis Gentry)

In the South-Western part of Germany you will find a wide mountainous area even called today Black Forest (Schwarzwald), and the name originates most probably from the Old Norse noun Myrkviðr (meaning mirky wood or black forest) as part of the Germanic-Scandinavian mythology Edda. In this context the woodlands were a holy place for magic rituals around the all-connecting world tree Yggdrasil. The German tales collected and published by Gebrüder Grimm in the 19th century tell us a lot of stories regarding these sometimes quite bizarre forest sites, while the author J. R. R. Tolkien adopted this dense and green place much more recently as the gloomy Mirkwood,  a Northern jungle full of primeval mysteries.

milne-bay-papua-new-guinea_1884Constructing a treehouse at Papua-New Guinea
Illustration by Otto Finsch, 1884

Our much older ancestors, the monkeys, once did a new thing. Hitherto there had been the earth-bound animals with legs and the air-borne animals with wings. The monkeys left the ground without riding the air and made the trees their habitation, and this was incorporated in our genetic codes while human children do like normally very much climbing or housing on trees as a self-evident game. So the green trees and the wide forests mean certainly our original (mostly previous) homeland here on Earth. Therefore it is also not astonishing that Buddha has only attained enlightenment under a tree, the sacred fig named Bodhi. Such natural mythological places and symbols were destroyed everywhere in Europe as part of a violent missioning Christian crusade starting in the 6th century which completely ignored the fact that plants and trees are living much longer and obviously in greater diversity than our species on this planet and deserve our full respect.

Destruction of the Saxonian Irminsul by Charlemagne 772,
illustration by Heinrich Leutemann 1882

Nowadays – as part of a recollection to nature as a value in itself which is not at all a romantic question – modern architecture discovers again trees as an integral part of constructing houses worldwide. This development gets most visible at the two Bosco Verticale towers at Milan where real trees and bushes have been set on its balconies with the aim to create one hectare of forest as part of a modern appartment building in the very centre of a densely populated big town. But here the basic materials of construction remain concrete and glass, so the trees and bushes resemble more or less just a green attachment, a planted facade. So I was really enthusiastic when I stumbled over the information some time ago that urban treehouses are existing not far away in my town, because in the concept of such buildings trees are standing in the centre of design and creation.

dsc_0281Sideview of ‘Urban Treehouse’ at Berlin / Germany

Cabanes La Grande Noë - MoulicentInviting terrace at ‘La Grande Noe’ / France  © Cabanes de la Grande Noe

A treehouse in a big city like Berlin, that sounds quite strange first of all. But for the architects & builders of the Urban Treehouse-project this is the most relevant part of their conceptual design in order to connect nature and a modern kind of urban living on a high level. So they have built two of these small treehouses on a premise directly situated at Berlin’s great forest Grunewald and not far away from the nice lake Krumme Lanke at the district of Zehlendorf. If you intend to go somewhere in the city centre, the next subway station can be reached from there easily and in short-time. So both can be appreciated when living in these houses: the joys of nature and the diverse advantages of a European capital. Hence, this is a mere private project which can be only used by family members for a very delightful stay someday. 

dsc_0269Streetview of ‘Urban Treehouse’ at Berlin / Germany

grandenoe_birdnestsBird-nests at ‘La Grande Noe’  / France   © Cabanes de la Grande Noe

As a part of a more adventure focused tourism treehouse hotels in Europe are quite popular in Germany and France, few others can be also found in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain and Turkey – in total at least 50 rural sites all around in Europe.  The accomodation prices are quite often comparable to a stay in a 5-star-hotel, as they definitely offer some kind of deluxe today, a place for dreaming like a bird. At Cabanes de la Grande Noe (being situated in the Normandy  countryside of France) six different houses can be rented for 2 or more people on a family run domain. All of them are built merely with wood around or in the trees, such reflecting the traditional way of constructing these kind of houses. So here you have the possibility to experience the rural and puristic treehouse feeling, but with breakfast served and brought to the treehouse each morning – what a luxury wilderness.

If you possibly intend to build a treehouse sometimes lateron just for yourself, the following book will be in any case helpful and animating:  Be in a Treehouse: Design / Construction / Inspiration by Pete Nelson also available in German Die wunderbare Welt der Baumhäuser: Design – Konstruktion – Inspiration, Pete Nelson.

DCIM100MEDIA

THE CROOKED WOOD IN POMERANIA / POLAND

If only trees could talk to us. What strange stories would then submerge subsequently from densely wooded grounds like this weird forested site in the very North-West of Poland?

This most curious natural monument is situated Southern from the city centre of Gryfino at Nowe Czarnowo in Western Pomerania near the border to Germany. The fairytale forest consists of at least 80 pine trees showing a mysterious deformity and shape (other sources name 400 pine trees, but I have not counted them while being there). All of the trees have the same northward 90-degree bend at the base of their limb but despite bent beginnings, all of the trees have grown to be tall and seemingly unhampered by this deformation. There are traces of rowed plantings, however, the majority of trees are scattered about the normal pines. Some of them are in small groupings.

The most popular theory about how the trees became crooked is that a group of German farmers planted these trees in the 1930s, intentionally damaging the base in order to create some sort of product, perhaps uniquely shaped furniture.  The world may never know if it’s true because the German farmers were unable to finish their work due to their forced migration after World War II.

Others assume that a snowstorm could have knocked the trees like this, freezing them into a bent position until the snow and ice melted in spring.  There are plenty of trees in the area, all of which grow upright from the base without the funky curve distinct of the crooked trees. So the Crooked Wood remains an odd occurrence and unsolved mystery of exceptional green.

Jo’s Monday walk : Back lane beauty

 

OBSCURE MENHIR EVENT

You may have heard of the mythical menhirs (i. e. standing stones) in connection with the comic Asterix and Obelix but in fact they may be discovered in many countries of Europe, not only in Brittany. So when I learned that one example of megalithic culture can be found just 150 kms from my home at Langeneichstädt near the city of Halle in Germany, I had to go and see this place.

The menhir of Langeneichstädt (ca. 3,600 – 2,700 BC)

When visiting the neolithic site of Langeneichstädt comprising an ancient menhir and a stone cist grave in 2017 on 3 November (i. e. shortly after All Saints Day), former visitors had left fresh flowers at the place ritually to my real great surprise – hence I did hesitate instinctively moving forward for a while.

Carving on the menhir said to symbolize the dolmin goddess

Such places at times imply special energies and dynamics because a little bit later I heard a clear, mysterious and yelling voice out of nowhere although nobody else could be seen somewhere except me.  May be it was only the wind, you might certainly argue, but the incident made me shivering immediately while not finally falling into absolute delusive panic like people in the dark novels of H. P.  Lovecraft.

Cover-stones of the stone cist grave (ca. 3,600 – 2,700 BC)

A however deep and ice-cold irritation made me leaving this primeval location much faster than planned with the clear agenda not to return so soon again. A baffling and surreal message from the past must have passed my way at this very moment.

View inside the pristine burial place of Langeneichstädt

 

 

HOW DO ALIENS SOLVE CLIMATE CHANGE?

An interesting lecture for the weekend with astonishing perspectives and visions.

The Extinction Chronicles

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/05/how-do-aliens-solve-climate-change/561479/

Scientists recently modeled a range of interactions between energy-intensive civilizations and their planets. The results were sobering.

Artist's rendition of the exoplanet Kepler-20e
NASA / Ames / JPL-Caltech
The universe does many things. It makes galaxies, comets, black holes, neutron stars, and a whole mess more. We’ve lately discovered that it makes a great deal of planets, but it’s not clear whether it regularly makes energy-hungry civilizations, nor is it clear whether such civilizations inevitably drive their planets into climate change. There’s lots of hope riding on our talk about building a sustainable civilization on Earth. But how do we know that’s even possible? Does anyone across the cosmos ever make it?

Remarkably, science has now advanced to point where we can take a first step at answering this question. I know this because my colleagues and I have just published a first study mapping out possible histories of alien planets, the civilizations…

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