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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Two Trails

A brisk wind is chasing rain across the sky in quick, sharp intervals, strobe lights of sunshine cutting through. Just enough for a good run under a blue sky, between the raindrops. I had planned to write about spring barley and the malting process that leads to single malt whisky, but before I could even…

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Sea of Sun

Yesterday I posted images of atmospheric life at our altitude, all fog and frost. Today, this is the view from several hundred meters above our heads, taken from a ski station web cam that’s twenty minutes from our place. The view is out over Lake Geneva, with the Alps in the distance. All of the…

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Frosted Fig

Last week, I went for a short walk in the late afternoon. It was sunny, and although it wasn’t warm, it was tolerably above zero. Then the temperature plunged, and the first real winter fog of the season settled in. I’m fortunate in that I don’t mind fog. Probably because I grew up along the…

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Bubbly Surprise

It’s been an icy couple weeks here in the foothills of the Jura, with a strong bise wind blowing down from the Alps, funneling down through the Lake Geneva basin and wearing itself out to points south of here. It’s dry, it’s cold, and it can be unrelenting for as long as it lasts, usually…

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First Slap

  Old Man Winter gave us a sharp flick of his icy finger this past week. We had the first real snow of the season at our elevation of 480 m (1570 ft) in the foothills of the Jura mountains. I decided that leaving the house is an overrated activity, put on another sweater and…

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Happy Birthday, Rorschach

Above is a Rorschach inkblot, used for decades in psychological assessment exercises as a means of examining personality characteristics and emotional function. Hermann Rorschach, the Swiss psychiatrist who was born on this day in 1884 and who invented the inkblot test, originally intended it as a tool for diagnosing schizophrenia. Below are projected images of…

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Skyward Run

The day started like this. By evening, the clouds had cleared, so at one point the run looked like this in one direction. Like this in the other. And like this straight ahead. Then I looked over my shoulder, and this fine fellow popped up over a cloud. It was a pretty good day, sky-wise.…

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Sober Expectations

I saw recently that Napa Valley wineries had already started their grape harvesting season as of August 1 this year, almost two weeks earlier than the average, due to a short winter combined with a long and mild spring. So I wondered whether our long, wet, cold winter, combined with a long, wet, cold spring…

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