Dawn or Dusk

Sometimes it’s hard to tell which it is, dawn or dusk. Getting brighter for a sunny day, or darker for a long night? How to tell the difference? Obviously, it all depends on the direction you’re facing. In this case, I was facing east. It was a dawn that was coming up all soft pinks…

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It’s A Hot One

The little digital thermometer on my window here in south-eastern France read 50.1°C (122.2°F) yesterday. Today it’s even higher. Not that the outside air is really that hot. It’s just the sun heating the glass of the window to that searing temperature. Until I get around to moving the thermometer to a location that offers…

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Stone Cold Facts

Switzerland just experienced its coldest winter in thirty years; back in October, several meteorologists predicted this winter would be Europe’s coldest in a century. From my vantage point on the Franco-Swiss border, where temperatures didn’t get above freezing and were further chilled by a strong northerly wind, I can testify that January was desperately cold…

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Circumnavigational Wonder

The world’s first circumnavigation by an aircraft powered only by the sun was just completed this week. The Solar Impulse 2, created and flown by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, landed in Abu Dhabi after 23 days of flight time – spread over the course of 17 months and 42,438 km (22,915 nmi) of Northern Hemisphere territory.…

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Gumdrop Moon

Different cultures have different names for the full moons of the year, and January’s is called anything from Wolf Moon to Snow Moon to Winter Moon to Moon of the Terrible. But the moon that rose over Lake Geneva last night, caught here as we drove across Mont Blanc Bridge, was nothing so fearsome as…

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The Spoils of the Day

Sometimes the constant presence of natural beauty can lead to a certain forgetfulness of the visual bounty all around. We’ve lived near Lake Geneva for a long time, and while I revel in the views of mountain and lake, I don’t always appreciate just how lovely the area can be. Fortunately, friend, writer and local…

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The Urge to Affiliate

I was out on a run yesterday, my usual loop, when I found this piece of tree bark lying across the path. Here along the border between France and Switzerland, we’re in the midst of a bise blanche, a fierce wind that blows down through the Geneva basin from the north. A bise blanche weather…

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Solstice Splendor 2014

Sunrise and sunset on the solstice. To the east, the sun breaks a new day above the sharp peaks of the young Alps. To the west, the day comes to its end as the sun sets behind the gentle slopes of the ancient Jura range. Welcome, splendid Winter.

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Solstice Run

A stunning summer solstice day, some of it spent in the garden staking up tomatoes and peas, some of it spent sitting together, some of it spent in blissful afternoon napping. And some of it spent on a good 7 km run. The summer solstice is a bittersweet pleasure. The beginning of summer; when the first…

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Anticyclonic Haze

It’s been a hazy couple of days here on the eastern edge of France, dry and cloudless but when I look out the window, the air above (the currently invisible) Lake Geneva is whitish-yellow.And indeed, checking the news, I find that three-quarters of France is under a high pollution alert. City bikes are free today…

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