The little wonders that will make you hopeful

How are you doing right now?

When I look out the window, at Europe and the world my heart gets heavy and quite sad.

Treetops, meadows and grass turn brown under a heat wave and an exceptionally dry year so far. Birds stop singing, fish die in rivers, insects are less abound. Wildfires rage in the Arctic circle, temperatures rise over 30 degrees Celsius in the same region, and some crops fail or are at least much lower than they are supposed to be. This is just to mention a few things that look terribly wrong for me.

What has already become regular in developing countries as they especially suffer from and feel climate change, the latter more and more hits and arrives in the developed world. After all, it is that developed world which is responsible for climate change in the first place.

What’s more, Mother Nature and above all the ocean is choking on plastic and rubbish from ever faster consuming humans. I think beyond repair. Every year, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean of our blue planet. “It’s equivalent to five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world.” writes Coastal Care. And this figure rises.

The political atmosphere is no better. Moves to more xenophobia, racism, and the neglecting of environmental issues are definitely the opposite what I feel we desperately need: empathy, mutual understanding, an honest dialogue, mediation (so needed in the circle of the mightiest as far as I am concerned), a true united spirit and activeness, a global and a grassroots approach to the challenges we face, and mindfulness towards ourselves and every living creature.

I know, it looks dire and it can feel heavy. But then there is hope. The little wonders that happen within and around us. The little wonders of hope, joy, and beauty.

Look for them and be one of them.

After an eleven-days long heat wave strong winds cleared the air here and brought about a change of weather patterns. With it came a little rain.

And look what mood the sky was in. It seemed to have felt like painting. And so it painted no matter how big the issues, how dire the outlook, how bad the pollution. I and others I know of stood in awe watching the magic happen and enjoying the moment with gratitude.

That day, the sky presented me with a powerful message of how I shall never stop hoping and believing in the little wonders and what they are capable of inducing.

When it all seems to be black and white, there is colour everywhere as well, when the news only bring bad ones, there are as many hopeful ones as well, when too many politicians around the world put their energy into power games, inhumane decisions, and threats, there are more humans like you and I who have an open mind and heart, are kind, take conscious decisions, smile friendly at someone, and maybe campaign for a freer, fairer, and more peaceful world!

And a cleaner world. Just look at this young man – Boyan Slat – who with only 16 years old decided he wanted to do something against the plastic in the ocean after seeing more plastic than fish when diving in Greece. A little wonder was born in his heart. That was back in 2011. In 2018, or more exactly in 28 days, the solution he and his team from Great Ocean Cleanup came up with will start cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. A plastic accumulation zone between Hawaii and California that covers an estimated surface area three times the size of France.

From a strong orange over lighter and cooler purple tones in the pictures above, the sky suddenly burnt in red and dark violet colours.
A drop in the ocean, but at least some rain arrived.
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Shine a light and be a piece of hope.

Everyone of us can be a piece of hope. Everyday.

South up North

We travelled north to finally see three outstanding musicians with their program “Süden” – meaning south in German. It took more than six hours by train to get to the Bavarian city of Regensburg, but their friendship mirrored in their music, their heartwarming and inspiring words and songs, their focus on humanness, the Hang instrument played by Kälberer (one of the musicians), and the beautiful atmosphere they created was more than worth it. They finished their first tour five years ago with a grande finale in the Arena di Verona/IT – yes, we missed it :0( – but luckily took it up again this summer. What’s more, they will have a Süden II tour next year. Tickets are already ours for this one….

What is the furthest away you have ever travelled for a concert?

The lyrics are in German and Italian only. Having said that, the Bavarian German is hard to understand for everybody and Italian is a foreign language for many here as well. So it may not matter whether you speak English, Swiss German, or any other language. Just give your ears a portion of what I feel is pure ear-candy. The Bavarian television has recorded one of their concerts, enjoy it here: Concert Süden. Even the last song Passa il tempo they played in Verona and especially wrote for Süden is online.

The musicians, by the way, are Werner Schmidbauer Pippo Pollina Martin Kälberer.

Of course, I also have a little impression of Regensburg for you.

ladybird, earth, exploring, daniela, mühlheim, danielamühlheim, nature, photography, travel, GermanyIt is one of the only bigger cities in Germany that has survived World War II and as such boasts a well preserved old town from the Middle Ages.

It is very famous for its 310 m long Stone Bridge from the 12th century and the all dominating Regensburg Cathedral (Dom St. Peter) from the 13th century.

You also find a relict of a Roman wall called Porta Praetoria which was built in 179 ad and only laid open again in 1885.

Last but not least, the Danube river wonderfully flanks the city and offers a formidable place to be for the cities’ youth and for those looking for some blue and green space and/or a swim in what is a very hot and dry July.

Lovely greetings and keep cool should you be in hot Europe somewhere!

Lush, lusher, the lushest

What a privilege these days thanks to modern technologies to be able to write this new story while sitting at the edge of a river breathing in air filled with summery warmth and being refreshed after a bath in it. I am out of reception, though. Yes, thankfully, this still exists!

Grey heron, different species of butterflies, dragonflies, and even a European kingfisher hang out here with us. Just a mere 20 minutes bicycle ride from home in the city.

While the river is flanked by forest and as such the scenery comes in varied green tones as well, I actually wanted to finally take you to the Canton of Jura. Remember the postcard I sent you?

For my Swiss German speaking readers who may find my English a bit challenging at times I narrate the story for a change:

Ich habe mal was Neues versucht und diese Geschichte auf Schweizer Mundart erzählt und aufgenommen. Einfach grad so von der Leber weg :-). Hört hier rein und lasst mich wissen, was ihr denkt:

ladybird, earth, exploring, daniela, mühlheim, danielamühlheim, nature, photography, travel,
Cows with a view

Thus my title. I think I have never seen something as lush and freshly green as this area in late spring, even though I hiked in rainforests on different continents, did my Master thesis in the biggest coherent pine forests of the Alps, drove hundred of kilometres through spruce forest in Sweden, walked trough the Valley of the Giants in Western Australia and the Giants forest in California. Never before did I feel like bathing in the lushest and most freshest #fiftyshadesofgreen. Maybe I just also was really in the mood for that green colour. Such a stupendous experience and a miraculous balsam for the soul.

What is your favourite colour right now? Read more

Vitamin SEA

Do you remember when I wrote I did not plan to sit at Playa de Famara/Lanzarote this year in my story Sandy Feet back in March? Well, I was wrong :0)!

In June, I spent a week there with my soulsister. Hooray! I felt the effectiveness of the ocean once more and I love to share some ocean vibes with you here. But first of all, I am very curious to hear: What does the ocean mean for you?

ladybird, earth, exploring, daniela, mühlheim, danielamühlheim, nature, photography, travel, Lanzarote

I talked about nature being my pharmacy and medicine in Under a tree. The ocean perfectly fits into that as my vitamin SEA. Water is actually my life elixier. Whenever I take a swim in the ocean or any other natural water body I feel completely free and a profound freedom spreads out in my body. I become calm, my mind quiet, and I fully indulge in the very moment. Read more

Under a tree

Dear readers

Where do (or did) you spend this first Sunday of July?

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Me, I am lying under a tree watching the branches move in the wind and the leaves dancing to its music. Something I deeply love to do. Lying in the grass on my back looking skywards observing the butterflies, and many other insects, birds, trees, and clouds in the mostly blue sunny sky. It seems as if I can’t really wrap my head around words right now, but I always lovingly share sights of nature.

So here I am enjoying the sounds of nature and the summer feeling all the while writing this to you. Live blog so to say 😎.

Nature means everything to me and I feel so deeply connected with and rooted in it. Moreover, nature is my medicine and it is where I calm down, relax, get energy and inspiration from. Nature also automatically creates space in my mind.

My dear soulsister used a wonderful metaphor yesterday when she said that she was so glad that the pharmacy nature is always open for us.

Yes, what a wonderful fact to be grateful for. Nature is all around us, sometimes wilder sometimes a bit more hidden.

I now prescribed myself with more LUX and more nature on a daily basis 🤩😇😋.

My hope is that you also feel some comfy wind in your hair today, the warm sun rays softly touching your skin, and that your eyes, mind, and heart are pampered with a view you love.

Here you can enjoy mine:

 

Big nature hug

Daniela

89 years

Today in the locker room of the gym…

I meet this beautiful elderly woman. Both of us are getting ready to train our muscles. She sits there wearing her surgical stockings and a pair of black leggings after getting rid of her pair of beige jeans. She is looking for something in her bag and then starts a conversation with me. You know, when you get older not everything goes the way you want it to. I washed my clothes today and in the heat of the moment, I forgot to bring an extra shirt. Oh, I answer, no worries, that is the same at every age, I just forgot to bring my badge to get into the gym some weeks ago.

Now, she asks me, do you think I could exercise just in my leggings? I normally always also wear trunks, but they are so hot, she says while showing them to me. Of course, I reply, of course you can go just the way you are dressed now! Actually, almost everybody “just” wears leggings in the gym. But at my age? She wonders. Of course, why not! I reassure her.

She looks at me with her eyes wide open and a little smile on her lips. You know, she says, I am always ashamed and afraid of what people would think, if I am showing up like this. I always wanted to ask somebody, but it is not a given to talk to someone like you. I am ashamed of walking around like this since I was young. Now I am so grateful for your answer and relieved that I can go without trunks, for I sweat so much and they are so hot. Thank you, thank you, thank you, she now gratefully smiles at me.
It is my big pleasure, dearest.

She goes on telling me that she is 89 years old turning 90 this year.

I am in awe. You see, I tell her, not everybody at your age goes and/or is able to go to the gym, so you should rather be proud than ashamed. I am ready to leave anytime now, she continues, but I don’t want to be a burden for my daughter, so that is why I come to the gym and train my legs on the indoor cycle machine.

I joke around asking her where she rides to with the bicycle, to Geneva maybe? (which is a four hours train ride from where the gym is, so quite far). The moment she gets my joke, she answers, oh, I ride to England where my grandchild lives. I wish her a good ride and all the best, before we bid farewell.

Of course, we consistently meet in the gym. She never misses to thank me for the go-ahead to work out without trunks and just in her leggings and surgical stockings. As luck would have it we finish at almost the same time an hour later and meet again in the locker room. Sure enough, she once again expresses her gratitude for me saying, yes you can.

It made such a difference to me, she goes. It was so much more comfortable like that and you know what… nobody stared at me or made me look ridiculous. Thank you! – You are really welcome.

Did you get to England? I wonder. No, not today, maybe in about two weeks time. But I sent a telegram and I made sure she is home when I get there. :0)

Oh my, we had a blast together that wonderful woman and I. We bid a final farewell for today and who knows we see each other again, she adds. That would be so nice, I said seeing her off.

I immediately knew that I wanted to share this heart-warming story with you. I hope it touches you the way it touched me.

I give thanks for stories like this and that they happen to me out of the blue.

I am also grateful for you! You are here and interested in my stories, even though there are only words today and sort of no photographs. But I am pretty sure, you are picturing this in your very own way.

With gratitude,
Daniela

Greetings from St-Ursanne

I just spent a wonderful time in a region of Switzerland I did not know very well so far, the Canton of Jura. It is a french-speaking canton bordering France in its west.

We were based in a rebuilt barn at the end of a winding road leading through a forest up in the hills surrounded by forests, meadows, and cows.

Here is just a little greeting from the village the barn politically belongs to – St-Ursanne. Rest assured to see more of the region soon.

Have a wonderful weekend!