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It is a whirlwind in here

Alive In The World & Not Coming Home Dead

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So, fourteen days of self-isolation ended yesterday, and I went into the world. That, plus being super careful at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, meant I had not stepped into society for three and a half months (except for the inter-city bus ride to get me here).

Mask on face, I got on the city bus and sat in a designated seat, keeping folk (hopefully) at a healthy distance. Seating was reduced by half. Not everyone wore masks.

Reaching my destination, and out on the street where I could keep my distance, I pushed my mask off (though I did not put it away). There was moderate foot traffic, and it was not difficult to keep from getting close to people. I ‘d guess only one in twenty wore a mask.

I have a favourite walk along the harbour, and when I reached the water I attempted to set out on it. First, I did check to see if the public washroom was operating. It was. However, I found my usual trek was restricted by construction. I had to start along a city street, which is narrow this close to the harbour. There was no way not to be close to folk walking in my direction, and I pulled up my mask. Again, few others were wearing masks.

Once beside the water, where the wooden walkways are wide, it was much easier keeping away from other folk. There were many people there (it was a nice summer day) and the majority of them did not wear masks. Outside bars were open, and I saw groups of people (10 – 20) sitting at long tables. There were  also folk in twos and threes sitting on public benches.

I knew there would be no cruise ships in port (that business is dead for the year), but I eventually realised there were no pleasure crafts, either. All of the moorings were deserted, and it made quite a difference. The only marine traffic I saw was a Pilot Boat on its way out.

I did sit awhile (a favourite pass time) at an individual chair, and looked out toward the Atlantic Ocean. And was happy there was some breeze.

As I continued, I was surprised that (I believe) all the restaurants were open. Folk were inside and out on the patios. No masks were visible (except on the servers). There were reduced numbers, of course,  but I bet the restaurants were as full as they could be.

I eventually continued along the streets to get of a large grocery store. I had not been in a commercial building for three months. I lucked out when, as I entered, one employee was wiping down a shopping cart. I grabbed it. I was only getting a few items (though – as usual – there were some unplanned purchases). More shoppers had masks, but I’d guess 50% did not. Nor (you can believe this) did they all follow the arrows on the floor. Still, I was in and out quickly, paying with a credit card (I did see one person use cash).

Next door is a Liquor Store, and I made some purchases there. No one else wore masks. I did not stay long, knowing full well what I wanted.

The bus back was much like the one I took to the harbour. Enter by the side door. Designated seat. No ticket necessary.

So a day has passed. Purchases requiring refrigeration were disinfected and put away. The rest I’m just going to let sit until the respective safe time frames for the respective containers passes.

I decided to stay put today.

(image) https://i.pinimg.com/originals/64/9a/83/649a839d99330f27cfb30eaa867f3d61.jpg

Kafka Sees A Ghost’s Shadow From The Window

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An Excerpt from my Kafka In The Castle, where I fill in all of his missing diary entries. Kafka never avoided life – if anything, he perhaps plunged too deeply into it. But I think he never felt he was a part of what went on around him. He understood reality too well.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

01 June 1917

I have been on the outside, looking in – the darkness of the night behind me, the fog resting close upon the harbour.

I’ve watched diners at their ease, the fire colourful through the grate, the rich hue of the glass raised to the lips. And my own face, peering back at me as I look in, reflecting like a ghost’s shadow from the window.

And the very next night, I have been on the inside, looking out – seated at the very table I had previously observed.

The fireplace at my back, its warmth more than welcome. And I glanced out at the harbour, its fog higher than the previous evening, but not yet obscuring the lights of the ships. Their portholes wavering.

And, as I brought the red liquid to my lips, I saw my own face dimly doing the same in the window, imposed and distant between me and the fog. And I felt as alone as I did the night before.

Whether I was sitting or standing; whether in the warmth, or in the fog – I was still me.

Always K.

Always observing.

Zolle Sott’Olio | Pickled Garlic Scapes in Oil : Garlic  scapes ~ the long, swirly green shoots and buds that grow above ground ~ are harvested in spring. This allows the garlic plant to focus its energy on the bulb. And it also provides garlic lovers with another edible treat. Garlic scapes have an appealing, mild flavor, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy them.

Source: Zolle Sott’Olio | Pickled Garlic Scapes in Oil

Trump & COVID19 Walk Into A Bar In Tulsa, Oklahoma

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~ Oh – my God – Mr. President. Thank You!

~ I take credit for everything.

~ Thank you. Thank You!

~ You’re welcome.

~ Let me shake your hand.

~ Of course.

~ I suppose a hug is too much?

~ Not at all.

~ Oh. Oh. You are Death’s dream.

~ Any chance you can take out Biden?

~ Oh, I am but a foot soldier. Anyway – he wears a mask.

~ Coward.

~ I love it when you talk like that.

~ He’s keeping his distance.

~ But you don’t.

~ I got guards. No one will get closer than six feet.

~ Of course.

~ I like that – six feet.

~ Why?

~ That’s how deep they bury you. Ground Zero.

~ But aren’t you worried about your followers?

~ Why?

~ Well – you’ll lose their votes.

~ Nah – that doesn’t matter.

~ But you’ll need every vote.

~ Oh, we just get them from the graveyard, too.

A long religious life.   Benedict XVI visits his ailing brother in Germany

One of the major characters in my first published novel, A Lost Tale, came from Regensburg. He was a member of this choir.

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is making a private visit to Germany to see his ailing brother Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.

Source: Benedict XVI visits his ailing brother in Germany

Does Hope In Life Cloud The Reality Of Death?

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An Excerpt from my Kafka In The Castle, where I fill in all of his missing diary entries. Perhaps because the summer heat is getting to him, his patience is thin with those whose hope outstrip the realities of life and – particularly – death.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

17 June 1917

I am told that you can’t lose people, that “…they will always be with you in memory.” Max is heavy with this type of comment – as if the hand of sentimentality brushed off his coat before he set out on each day.

Both the intelligent and the slow of wit seem to be struck dumb by this nonsense. Emotion, I suppose  – hope, I suppose – has no place for reason among its folds. But, if you can not touch, or have expectation of being touched, then the people and places are as gone as yesterday.

There is no way to travel back, and the future beckons with only an empty gesture and a hollow laugh. Bowing low at the open doorway to usher you in, but the room is empty. And will remain ever so.

When they are no longer there to hold their hand out to you – well, then they are no longer there.

 

(image) https://izquotes.com/quotes-pictures/quote-plenty-of-hope-an-infinite-amount-of-hope-but-not-for-us-franz-kafka-242320.jpg

Charity Begins At Home – Until It Turns Into A Swamp

People Discussion Meeting Give Help Donate Charity Concept
I returned to a pile of mail after being COVID19 – trapped across the border. My pile of mail was much larger than ever expected. That was due to the number of charities encouraging my contributions.

I have noted of late that charities are obviously using a third party to encourage donations. However, it seems that this third party is using the same devices for all charities. And that if a person gives to one or two (or more) charities, their name is going to be on the mailing lists of many clients of this third party (let’s call it the Mail Out King).

Upon my return, not only did I have reminders from the charities I do support, but a host of other requests from those I have not considered. Thus, I am awash in the enticements the Mail Out King supplies as inducements.

I now have twelve (12) pens at my disposal. Six (6) are black with gold trim; four (4) are garishly multi-coloured; one (1) is light blue; one (1) is tartan. Only five (5) have the name of a charity upon them.

More numerous than the pens, I have notepads of various sizes. These I actually use.

I have five (5) zippered  pen&pencil cases to hold them.

I have three (3) large (and garishly-coloured) shoulder bags.

I have dozens of Christmas cards and envelopes.

I have hundreds of stickers containing my name and address to put upon these envelopes.

I have no idea what all this material is worth, nor what it must cost to send them.

PLEASE STOP

 

(image) thirdforcenews.org.uk/images/uploads/articles/229302/web_fundraising_image.jpg

Birds Of A Feather / Loons Of The Water

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The surface of the lake is so smooth, the flow of the differing currents are clearly seen as shimmering streaks reflecting the sunshine.

Breaking through these jewelled bands, like shadows over unrecognized borders, are three loons. Two black-capped Common and one red-throated.  They stray apart, become lost in shafts of sparkling water, and as unexpectedly re-appear further along the shore.

The red-throated loon keeps a slight distance from the other two. Usually, it is the first to dive. Dive and disappear so cleanly there is only the barest ripple to betray it.

The other two then quickly go without a sound, a liquid dive that leaves the water empty, save for the dancing sunshine.

And then a head.

And then two more bodies break the surface, far from where they went under. They move with an ease that makes them seem part of the water.

One of them wallows slightly on its side, then reaches far down its breast to preen. After a few nibbles, it rights itself and unhurriedly joins its companions.

They become a distant trio of sleek shapes, and disappear in the haze of horizon and glinting sun.

When They Poured Across The Border / I Was Cautioned To Surrender ~ L Cohen

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I crossed the border yesterday, in this time of Pandemic. On an intercity bus. Restricted to nine passengers. At least I had a seat to myself.

The last time I crossed a border under threat of reprisal was decades ago. I entered (and left) Czechoslovakia (as it was then called) by train. I had gone to Prague to follow the footsteps of Kafka. Then the concern of authorities  was all about smuggling. Dire consequences that could put you in prison. And, on my way back out of the country, I was subject to a random search. Open my luggage, and spread what items the soldier decreed upon the seat and aisle, as he poked and prodded. He took interest in an object ( I forget what it was) which quite quickly could be seen to be a commercial souvenir. Thankfully. My careful packing had then to be shoved helter-skelter back into my luggage. Better a jumble than a jail.

So, crossing the border in the same country in this time of Pandemic was not as filled with anxiety, though anxious I still was. Although travel restrictions are being loosened and (at least in this neck of the woods) the Curve is being flattened,

Death stalks the Land / and keep washing your hands.

I did change my seat once, because a passenger changed seats to “have a better view”. That seat was across the aisle from me.

I was handed a form to fill out by the bus driver at a transfer station (nearly empty of people) to give to the border guards if they asked. Apparently they did not ask for it all that often. Where are you coming from/where are you going to. Name. Full address. Reason for travel. Do you have any symptoms?

So, with mask in place (well … a lot of the time  – though always when off the bus) I had a reasonably pleasant trip on a reasonably pleasant day. Lots of elbow room. There was an hour’s delay at the actual border. When it was the turn for the bus, no officer actually did board to check us out. Or take our forms. However, the driver handed his PA microphone out the window so the officer could tell us that: “Anyone breaking the fourteen (14) day quarantine upon arrival was subject to a $1,000 fine.”

I’ve got thirteen (13) days left.

 

[image] https://cbsnews2.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2018/08/06/8ae2e881-5500-4b09-876f-e1cf5bdecaad/thumbnail/1200×630/bda4ff327e62a7e92030aad7cc2e1693/ctm-0806-canada-us-border.jpg

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