Time Lapse

Find a large stand of aspen trees in a suitable valley. Next find a vantage point from which a camera can take images that contain the grove and enough of the surroundings. Set up a camera to take one image at noon on the first day of each month for two hundred years. If the conditions for the aspen trees is more favorable at one end of the valley, the organism will grow more trees there. Slowly some of the trees on the other side of the valley may die off. After two hundred years we would have 2,400 images. Using 15 images per second we would have a movie that is two minutes and 40 seconds long and may show a forrest walking across a valley.

Tree Profile: Aspen
One aspen tree is actually only a small part of a larger organism. A stand or group of aspen trees is considered a singular organism with the main life force underground in the extensive root system.


Older than the massive Sequoias or the biblical Bristlecone Pines, the oldest known aspen clone has lived more than 80,000 years on Utah’s Fishlake National Forest. Not only is the clone the oldest living organism, weighing in at an estimated 6,600 tons, it is also the heaviest.

Coffee again

Comment from Rusty Knorr on 2020-02-26 @ 17:39
Ottmar, with your current skill with bread baking the next step is roasting your own coffee at home! I have started buying green Ethiopian beans and roasting on the stove in a cast iron skillet. It’s really quite easy, and the experimentation with roast is very satisfying when you get it dialed in. There are inexpensive home roasters, and some even have good luck using a air popcorn popper, but I enjoy the manual method. Give it a try!

Hola Rusty! In December of 1996 we were fortunate to spend several days in Istanbul. We had an amazing time. I bought a whole bunch of CDs by Turkish artists, Jon bought the Saz that has surfaced on several songs since then, and I recorded the snippet of chanting that was used on the piece The Call from the album Leaning Into the Night. I had tea in a parking lot by the Bosphorus as the sun rose. I went to museums, mosques, and the bazaar, of course. I had Turkish coffee in the street, squatting next to the pan that was roasting the coffee over a burner. When I came home I wanted to try this myself. A friend, who grows coffee plants in Hawaii, gave me a bag with green beans for my experiments. I enjoyed the process, but didn’t buy more green beans when the bag was empty. I should have a look around and see whether some local shop has the green beans for sale. Thanks for the suggestion, Rusty.

About Love

Comment from JaneParhamKatz on 2020-02-26 @ 20:24
Ottmar, what have you discovered about love?

I have learned that love is a process. Falling in love is not the destination, a wedding isn’t mission accomplished, 25 of marriage can’t be the goal.

Love is something we can become better at. It’s like a muscle in that it can be trained and strengthened. Caring, empathy, communication, can all be improved. As in music, the tone one produces together matters.

Lovers regulate each other’s hormone distribution. The influence runs deep, down to a molecular level. Minds become attuned to each other. Sensitivity runs higher, we can tell what the other is feeling before they even say anything, and when they speak we understand the subtext better than with anyone else. The lover’s limbic pathways are changed and the parts of our neocortex that translate emotions improve.

Love is the best school. The best and quickest way to learn a language is to fall in love with a person who doesn’t speak yours. The same is true about all other aspects of culture. After language, it’s food and music and religion that are the glue in any group. Fall in love and you will quickly learn to care about different ways to view the world. This doesn’t mean that you will adopt these ways, but it will give you an appreciation for them. If traveling is a great way to expand your mind and see the big picture, so is falling love with someone who is not from the culture you grew up in.

Most of the time we don’t have much choice in the matter, because the heart wants what the heart wants, but be aware that who you fall in love with will have the biggest influence on your own life. They will change you. If you think that they are changing you into a worse version of yourself it is time to take stock and reflect about the relationship. If, on the other hand, you feel that you are a better person with your partner then you know you have something special.


I am reading several books at the moment, among them A General Theory of Love, a book by three psychiatrists that is surprisingly poetic and which I am enjoying a great deal. It dovetails nicely with the book by Robert Wright I mentioned recently. I am also reading The Reality Bubble, by Ziya Tong, but I have to read that one in small doses, because there is only so much reality I can process each day. Learning about mites mating on our faces takes a while to absorb. It’s the same with Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. I feel that it’s important to learn about our bloody past, but, again, there is only so much I can read without turning into a puddle of tears. So I take small bites and give myself time to process.

Ice retreating:

Blueberry traces in a white bowl:PS: also started reading The Art of Solitude, by Stephen Batchelor, a book of new essays. You might say I am enjoying a variety of small plates, instead of eating one big dish.

Japanese Internment Monument

My annual visit, on the 19th of February, to the monument of Japanese Internment in Santa Fe. I am reminded that once again we are vilifying immigrants today.