this anniversary, i’m remembering the power – destructive, and life-creating, of the mountain i lived next to and climbed. I watched her crystalline reflection float in spirit lake from my earliest memories. mt. saint helens is still a lesson for me, the power of the life giving and life taking force of nature, the beauty and grace and challenge of that power. always remembering.
Archive for the mountains Category
a few week back, i joined a convergence of people exploring the creative edges of retail – and talked with them about the idea of a creative quest. without this quest, we lose our way in the mist that clings on the mountainside.
closer to the top, there is a long view over the horizon, and the risk of volcanic confluence – drawing deep from the center of the earth both violent destruction and the essence of new life.
i will keep looking for the insights, under these..
architecture grows out of the earth in spain. stones cut of the place, anchored and sited as extended forms of nature. architects were listening to the earth for thousands of years.
evidence of this is everywhere – structures are part of the landscape, some only remnants, others cared for over centuries retain their energy inspired by nature.
cut into the edges of serrated mountains, extending skyward from the hilltops, terraced in topographic lines.
are the mountains carved by hand, or the buildings wrought by mountains?
made by nature, or man – seamless.
are the forests buildings, or the buildings forests?
are the trees columns or the columns trees?
blurring the divide between nature and man, dissolving into nothingness..
in spain, the architecture is earth, earth is architecture.
here, architecture inspired by nature holds power that transcends lifetimes, cultures, civilizations and centuries. nature may be the best teacher of architecture, if we chose to listen.
the essential nature of life
dreaming of light
washing over mountains
valleys of sliding shadows
now finally, at day’s end, spent sun-chasing over the endless blue ocean
out here, finding a more heightened sense of the moment, and the beauty it holds
reaching farther - onward – the journey continues
into the night
mountains are a powerful and deep source of life force. my earliest memories are on the shore of spirit lake, at the base of mount saint helens. from 7 years, we explored the north cascades every summer for weeks, learning the lessons of the mountains – lessons on change, perseverance, pain, exaltation, strength, weakness, limits, transformation, beauty, cycles of devastation and renewal, and the grand power of nature.
those volcanoes have been my teachers, along with the peaks of enchantment lakes, the boulder flatirons, mount rainier, mount merapi, mount batur, the himalayas, and my recent discovery of the black tusk of the squamish nation. you can find this view (and some awesome skiing) from the top of whistler mountain, home of this winter’s olympics.
i’ve often wondered if my connection to mountains was the beginning of my attraction to architecture. or was it trees? in the mountains, i’ve felt magical power, tested my limits, been infinitely small, and on top of the world with a view to infinity.
the one on the edge, pre-teen, early 70′s. being on the edge of a sheer vertical drop, i’ve felt the rush of wind and power – the exhilaration and expanse of the view spread below.
at enchantment lakes, the first time – my eyes overflowing with so much beauty – overwhelmed. this must be the most stunning place on earth. back then, you could just go there – now you need a permit, and there is only capacity for about 1/3 of those who apply. or try tuck and robin lakes for similar character and a shorter trip.
more recently, in exploring other continents and cultures, mount merapi (java, indonesia) was calm enough to climb just one month before it’s violent eruption. we met with the vulcanologist-shaman at the base of the mountain that day, and were advised to respect the mountain’s rumblings – to stop just short of the peak and stay clear of the regular lava outpourings. there was a misted veil sliding up the mountain as we made our way up the steep and slippery trail through the jungle, and then on the rockslides of the upper mountain face. here, there is great reverence for the power of the mountain – and in exploring the earlier aspects of spiritual culture in this region, the mountains are the origin of the gods.
this full moon ceremony of five rituals are set along a series of mountain temples in eastern bali – a monthly pilgrimage for the villagers, only accessed by a steep ascent up through the mountain jungle. in java, borobudur (the 8th century buddhist monument and unesco world heritage site) rises out of the valley floor in the form of the nearby volcanos.
in the himalayan cultures, the mountains are also the origin of the gods. in study of pre-buddhist bon religions, the many god figures originate from the mountains. in exploring bhutan, those whose lives are fully dedicated to a spiritual quest live at higher elevations – in monasteries, nunneries and meditation huts perched or hanging from the mountains.
in study of the history of architecture, the earliest structures were symbolic of mountains and the power they possess. those early structures were burial mounds, and then more elaborate. they also represented the axis mundi – the center of the world, where the earth meets the sky, the most sacred place, universally, in all cultures, for all of us.
there are places that are powerfully magnetic -
forests, for their dark earthy scents, filtered light patterned canopies and mysterious layered sounds..
mountains for their high view, crystaline air and physical challenges – and the power and force of their creation and ongoing evolution..
spiritual places for the sacred energy, celestial light, soaring volume, echoing chants, and feats of architecture - from the mosques of istanbul and morocco, the temples of kyoto and bhutan, and the cathedrals of europe..
and in all this exploring that i love to do, i am always drawn to the richness of the marketplace.
what makes these captivating places so dynamic, so full of energy, discovery, inspiration?
the people – creatively displaying the fruition of all their hard work, and those that are seeking a discovery. it is the public living room of the community – the best place to experience the diversity and connection to a culture in any place on the planet.
the craft – what is made, how it is displayed, the care in which the shop is curated.
the richness of the sensory experience – scents – food, leather, flowers, tobacco, spices – colors – brilliant arrays of fruits and vegetables, vibrant patterns and materials in a vast saturated spectrum – sounds – the shopkeepers calls, intimate chatting, collective sighs, calls to prayer – textures – woven textiles, hammered and etched metals, smooth pottery, ancient cobblestones.
From the berber markets in the foothills of the Atlas mountains, and the souks of Marrakech, to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and Chandni Chowk in Delhi, from the Pike Place Market in Seattle to the food markets of central Java – there is a universal language. From the line of time back to nomadic trade routes and crossroads, to the modern day markets of urban cities – it is the fabric of human life, the celebration of human connections, the epicenter of human creative spirit – the marketplace.
working on the design of retail spaces, i’m learning to infuse that sensorial richness, layered experience, and inspiring memory of these places.
dac @home in the pike place market