Beauty abounding

I may declare that I see no wonder in this shrubbery equal to seeing myself in it. Although Jane Austin’s Mary Crawford meant something entirely different by it, her observation accurately expresses the sentiment Joanna felt while we took in this view of Piz Nier. The mountain rises above the small town of Bivio, located in the Swiss canton of Graubรผnden, and is boarded by Austria and Germany to the north, and by Italy to the south. Although we had been to Switzerland before, this was our first sojourn in winter. We drove from Lausanne, skirting the cities of Bern and Zรผrich, and arrived after dark. Neither Joanna nor I ski and so the next morning our traveling companions took to the slopes while we hiked Piz Turba. Joanna marveled at the scenery while I obsessed about arriving at the spot at which we had planned to rendezvous with the rest of our party. We hiked the same slope the next day and, having safely negotiated the first ascent, I enjoyed the second day’s adventure much more. The going was steep and we stopped at intervals to rest and to photograph our surroundings. Such pauses gave Joanna the chance to take it in and she was right that the very fact that we were hiking in such a beautiful place was more wondrous than the natural beauty around us. Although we have experienced the hills of Pennsylvania, the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Vermont, and although we had looked at these Alps from the comfort of a commercial jetliner, nothing had prepared us for walking in this place. Unlike Joanna, who moves head-up and eyes-forward, I tend to train my eyes down to focus on the ground in the immediate vicinity of my feet. No matter where she is, Joanna breathes in her surroundings. She listens to the birds, looks for growing things, and quickly becomes lost in the beauty which she observes. In contrast, I concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. This time, however, as we walked among the mountains, I had to agree that I saw no wonder equal to seeing myself among them.

POSTSCRIPT: My good friend, Maurice, at
Duck? Starfish? But … 23?, reminds me that the formation shown above is known as a lenticular cloud. Thanks Maurice. D

36 thoughts on “Beauty abounding

  1. Aha! I had a feeling we were in for a treat after I discovered where you had been for Christmas – and you haven’t disappointed! Wonderful shots – and that blue blue sky – oh my! More please ….

  2. Beautiful scenery. A snowy landscape has always a soothing effect on me. It’s a bit like my mind is finally clear from all worries. I love the silence, and the smell.

    Did you wake up the little adventurer that is hidden deep inside you ? Do you want to explore more of the world ? Or were you glad to be back to a place you can happily called “home” ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I am sorry to have to report Gin that it did feel good to be home … and that I spent much of my time away worrying about this-and-that. I think, perhaps, I’ve become too comfortable with my own space. As I believe I’ve observed before, one has to learn to travel when one is young. Having said all of this, I can report that Joanna had a wonderful time – she thoroughly enjoyed our time away and is already looking forward to the next adventure. I will have to recover from this one first!

  3. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your visit. The first thought I had when I saw the picture with the lenticular cloud was, “hey it looks just a growling wolf!” Today (the next day) it still does. Truly awesome!

  4. I read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night at Christmas, with the story set in Lausanne as well as other places. Fitzgerald is covering so much inner landscape in the novel that he barely gives a nod to the outdoors, leaving us to infer things about the setting. I enjoyed getting a look at what his characters would have been seeing. I imagine that you have more to share in upcoming posts?

  5. I am eager to see more of your images from the trip, David. But if these were the only two “keepers” I would say it was a successful time. It is too bad that you can’t get in the moment, so to speak. Even when photographing such fantastic scenery, I generally first take the time to appreciate and absorb my surroundings before then setting up and shooting … providing the sun isn’t about to crest a mountain or rise out of the sea which requires just a tiny bit more attentiveness. But no picture ever takes the place of the being. The cloud placement in the second is perfect and the sweep of the pano (?) is breathtaking.

    • I’ve got a few more in the works Steve. Your observations bring up an interesting point. For some reason or another I always find myself feeling rushed when I’m out with the camera. I think that perhaps it has something to do with feeling that being out in the woods might be equated with ‘leisure time.’ My conservative, New England, upbringing (do you know that I grew up outside of Boston) taught me that if you’ve got leisure time, what that really means is that you’re ignoring something important that needs to be done. Isn’t that a twisted view of things? I wish I could learn to take my time and relax … perhaps it’s something I need to work at.

      • That’s the Yankee in you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve never felt that way, but I was born and mostly raised in Schenectady and Syracuse before moving to WMass, so not a lot of Yankee in me … aside for rooting for them for a long time. I am rarely rushed in some ways, although I do have the “guy gene” that refuses to read instructions because I am too eager to get going.

        • My father-in-law, who grew up in Framingham, MA, has always said that if you need to look at the instructions, you’re in trouble! I went to graduate school in Syracuse … J and I lived in a small cottage just outside town in a place called Jamesville … ever heard of it?

          • I lived right in Syracuse and was probably too young to remember many town names. Livermore, maybe. I have heard of Jamesville as a town with a furniture manufacturer though. I totally agree with your father-in-law … aside from learning how software works.

    • Thanks for the interesting observation Charlie. I have thought about what you’ve said and have the following observation. Perhaps it’s just me … but when I find myself in an environment such as that which I depicted, I find it very difficult to ‘be in the moment’ and to enjoy the experience. As I indicated in the accompanying text, when on adventures such as this I find myself worrying about this-and-that such that my attentions are distracted. At this point, however, after-the-fact, when I look at the pictures I’ve taken I get much more of a sense that I was indeed in a very special place. If I could only experience it that way in real time! Thanks for taking the time to comment today Charlie. D

  6. Very impressive. These images look better than ads of ski resorts! Seriously – I believe some tourists’ clubs or the like would be interested in images like this.

    I share your feelings as the Alpine mountains are not a familiar view to me as I live in Eastern Austria and I don’t ski. Mountains are sort of timeless monuments that are just humbling as well as hearing people talk who live there – facing the dangers of avalanches, doing agriculture on steep hills …

    However, I have mixed feelings about living there permanently. If the weather is like this – it is just gorgeous. But on the other hand the number of hours the sun shines per day is lower than in the lowlands. The early sunset or late sunrise is something you need to get used to.

    • To tell the truth Elke … driving those very steep, and sometimes narrow, mountain roads really, really scared me. There’s NO WAY I’d travel those daily. I suppose it’s something one gets used to … but, if given the choice, I’d stay in the lowlands! The roads were terrifying for me … even as a passenger in the back seat! Most had guardrails that didn’t seem very sturdy and some curves didn’t have guardrails at all! The road to St. Moritz was perhaps the worst and was occupied by hair-pin-turn after hair-pin-turn. I think I turned grey in real-time! D

      • I have never been driving Alpine roads – but I remember the roads of Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands that basically consists of a single huge mountain, and some of the roads were very steep. I found that terrifying, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Pictures of mountains always spark an intense longing in my gut. Gorgeous photos! So glad you guys had a successful trip. Super happy for you and super jealous at the same time. I can’t wait to see more!

  8. Looking at these pics can certainly make you feel insignificant. Such unspoiled beauty. I am like you … looking down and concentrating on the here and now. B is like J … looking up and around, getting lost in the moment! Amazing that you were actually there! Looking forward to seeing more!

    • I like hiking trails with lots and lots of big, bright, signs. You know, the type that announce ‘This Way,’ ‘Stay on trail,’ ‘To trail head,’ ‘Turn here.’ Joanna has no problem undertaking a hiking adventure with knowledge only of where the trail begins and knowing, in some vague sense, that you go ‘that way.’ Sigh.

      • Way to give me an ulcer. B sometimes likes to try and wing it with directions. Let’s just see where this road goes. NO! I say give me the GPS and KNOW where we are going! Vague and I do not get along.

  9. Glorious and amazing, and I’m sure the real thing was even more impressive. It reminds me of the Canadian Rockies which I visited many years ago and have never forgotten. There is something about these majestic peaks that one never does forget. How wonderful to have had such an opportunity. Thanks for sharing!

  10. So beautiful! Almost more so than the Rockies of MT. However, this winter I am going to experience the Plains of MT. It is beautiful too, just in a different way than the mountains. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hey there Ms. H! Nice to see your name in my INBOX. Thanks for the ‘thumbs up’ on the images. J and I had a nice time in Switzerland … but it’s also nice to be back home! Keep warm! D

        • Thanks EM. I’ve seen some of your images and you DO have ‘skills.’ Just keep at it; developing a very good eye takes time. I’m gonna drop in at your WP site this morning so see what you’ve been up to. D

          • Well, thank you! I only have a very simple point and shoot digital camera I use. Sometimes, I think some of my pictures could’ve been even better if I had a different camera.

            • The panoramic view of the Swiss Alps in my post of a few days ago was taken with a ‘simple point and shoot.’ It’s not so much the camera … it’s the eye, and vision, behind the camera that makes the difference. Concentrate on subject, composition, and lighting … those are the keys! Don’t take snap-shots, concentrate on capturing images. You can do it. That little camera of yours can do so much … have you read the manual? You might discover that it’s got features you are unaware of. D

              • I have not read the manual since I first got it … and I don’t have it with me. I do know that one time I was playing around with it and found some features I didn’t know it had. That was an exciting find. ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t had much of a chance to play around with it lately, though. Thank you for your advice! I will definitely try putting it into practice! Thanks!

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