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As Europe Bakes & Burns, I Look Back To My First Time There

Solely because of the current, hellish weather in Europe, I hauled out my old travel diaries to take a look at what I was doing on this day so many decades ago. July 17.

I do remember some very hot days (though nothing like this week). I also remember the morning a month later, when I was walking through a long driveway, down from a mountain castle where the youth hostel was situated, and noted that Autumn weather had begun.

I obviously had time on my hands, for this day fills three hand-written pages. But since – oddly – it starts with a weather report, I’ll just record part of the first page.

July 17

A beautiful day erupted across the sky this morning blue clear sky and a budding sun sliding with a sultry manner into the waiting arms of the passionate heavens. It was, in other words, a nice day. And I took advantage of the whole majestic harrang** by leaving for the heart of the city around nine o’clock.

First business gotten out of the way was to buy a train ticket to Nurinberg**. It was interesting to return to Hanover Station , for in a way that’s where it all began, isn’t it? The fateful Sunday so long ago where the train was caught for Hamburg and on to the farm. It was much more pleasant being there the second time around, and I even succumed** and bought some plums in the small fruit store. They were the worst plums it has been my mis-fortune** to lay my taste buds on, and I threw half of them away.

I left the station and walked about the Square awhile, looking in the stores and wishing I could buy. But, it was enjoyable just looking around. At eleven o’clock I fulfilled one of the pet dreams which I looked forward to while on the farm. I went to a movie. Why this desire became so strong during these six weeks I do not know, perhaps a movie is a symbol of real civilization. Whatever the reason, I wanted to see one, and I did. It was, naturally, in German, but being a very sexy film, the language barrier did not make a great difference. As it was, I understood a lot more than I thought it would.

[By the by, excuse the writing, but I am on a moving train, and everything wobbles considerably.]

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

** I have edited nothing, and plan also not to edit if I ever do publish these long-ago writings. The “farm” mentioned is where I worked for summer employment.

T

The Sky Turns To Anger And Danger

It is one of those strange skies.

Strange morning light,

Not silver,

Not copper.

But both at once.

And the morning started so sunny,

Promising a fine fine day.

But now,

Even Paw, my cat/kitten,

Black as a midnight sky,

With one white mitten,

Is backing up

With a hiss.

Is the ocean going to throw,

And pound,

Our island and our lighthouse,

With storm and waves,

Wrack and ruin?

Or will it pass us by,

Like ghostly ships in the night?

I’m going to take Paw in

And give him meat.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

DE BA. UEL

A Feast From The Earth On EARTH DAY

I saw a sight that I believe I have actually never seen, though it is fabled the world over.

Standing on the front stoop to test the air I saw a robin on the grass. Robins are rather skittish and usually, when a human presence is so close, it will make them hop (and they truly do *hop*) away. But this one stayed put.

My understanding is that birds ‘hear’ the worms under the earth – that is how they detect them. I assume that is why they so often have their head in a cocked position. However, for this robin, the listening part of the chase was over.

As I watched the robin made a strike into the earth with its beak. It was then that an almost cartoon-like image occurred. The bird had a portion of the worm in its beak and began to pull. It pulled and pulled and the worm stretched and stretched. It made me think of someone pulling a threaded needle from the fabric they were sewing. The length of the worm became even longer than the robin’s body. With this constant and slow tug, the worm finally popped out of the earth.

Then the robin had a go at it.

The bird took at the long, brown earthworm and began to snip off pieces with its beak. It could not have been more effective if it had a pair of scissors. Substantial, beak-sized pieces which it swallowed quickly. The long earthworm became shorter and shorter, giving the robin less to hold on to. In under two minutes the worm became one remaining morsel hanging from the robin’s beak. It was only then that the robin began to hop across the grass. The last piece of worm disappeared inside the robin and the robin quickly took off.

One satisfied predator.

One less worm.

A Howling Winter Storm And Franz Kafka Collide Into Each Other

In Kafka In The Castle, I fill in the ‘missing’ diary entries from Kafka’s real diary. He either did not fill in these days himself, or he destroyed them. There are some estimates that Kafka destroyed 70% – 80% of everything he wrote. 

Franz was a back-to-Nature man, and enjoyed the outdoors, taking many trips to Nature Spas. But even he should have taken refuge from the storm.

**********************

04 December 1917

I imagine the weather experts will howl about today’s storm the way it still howls around our ears.

Their complaints will ring with vindication. Racing unchecked across field and pasture, it strikes with a force I am unaccustomed to in Prague. Ottla was hesitant to let me out into it, but she bundled me into my winter gear, with a scarf just below my eyes.

It was too violent for me to venture far, so I just wandered around the village. I’m sure that if anyone did see me, fingers made circles as they pointed to their heads.

“The Herr Doktor,” they would warn their children. “Do not go after an education like that.”

A Cat Learns Of Life From A Storm And Snow

If my cat/kitten,
Black as coal,
With one white mitten,
(I call him Paw)

Was not black as coal,
He’d be lost to me,
And to the ages,
In these drifts of snow
Covering Partridge Island,
After the storm,
From down the coast,

That left us so white.
I kept him in while
It raged,
Which he took to kindly.
But I let him loose,
The next afternoon,
Because a cat/kitten
Got to learn the

Ways of the world.
He took to the huge drifts,
Like a fish to water.
And when he tried to
Chase a rabbit,
I laughed myself silly.
And, (I bet),
So did the rabbit.

(I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2021 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report} DE BA. UEL

There’s A Storm Coming Up The Coast That Will Give Us A Dose

Tend to a Lighthouse,
On an island,
On the sea,
And you get the feel
And the smell
Of the weather,
Moving toward you.
So,

There’s a blow
Heading this way.
I’ve put up the rope,
Between my house
And the Lighthouse,
To grab onto
Some Jeezly fierce.
And I’ll be carrying
My cat/kitten,
Black as a storm cloud,
With one white mitten,
In his cage.
‘Cause he’s a

Fierce little bugger,
And will go out
Into it
To his
Peril.
He’s been sniffing
The storm,
And the excitement
Consumes him.

(I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2021 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}DE BA. UEL

Move Over, Greta Thunberg, Let Me Address COP26 With My Climate Change Warning

Well, first, I would never ask Ms. Thunberg to move over. I would, indeed, stand aside and let her take my place. I say “Thank God” and  “Blessed Be!” that someone like her is kicking ass to save the planet.


And, anyway, my up close and personal warning will not fit into this last day of the COP26 gathering. It comes too late.


But it only happened this morning.


Through the wee hours of 13 November, I had to open two of my windows, turn my fan on high, and discard bedclothes in my attempt to sleep, and I was not fully successful.


13 November, There is supposed to be snow and freezing temperatures. There was not.


With the dawn finally allowing light into the sky, I turned on the radio. I was told, in no uncertain terms (because it was repeated) that the dockyard on the harbour was the warmest place in all of Canada. 13C.


I took particular (and startled) attention to this, because the dockyard on the harbour is at the foot of my street. I was in the hottest place in Canada. 

13C on 13 November.


This is Climate Change!

This is Global Warming.


I understand if folk would rather talk to Greta Thunberg about this subject (so would I).


But, for the moment, I am living proof.

Ghosts At Sea Make Sailors Sing A Song

sea-shanty

And the wind is whistling past the  graveyard and past the land and past the sea and past the ships upon the sea and past the sailors upon the decks and in the companionways, tethered by their ropes and harnesses and heaving their axes and mauls against the shattering ice coating their still upright ships and even here even in this peculiar time the sailors revert to their age-old method of coping with their labours at sea and the perils of the sea and they break out into thunderous shanties – yes, even thunderous enough to best and beat the thunderous wind and crashing waves – that tell of wind and waves and women and graveyards and ghosts and the whistling that is supposed to keep the ghosts at bay, and, keep the bodies beneath the ground.

“Heave ‘er to, boys/

“Heave ‘er to and smash her down/

“Get the rhythm, boys/

“Get the rhythm so we won’t drown//

“It’s girls or ghosts, boys//

“Girls or ghosts that we next meet/

“Smash that ice boys/

“If you want our meeting sweet.”

“They’re singing about you,” says Alison Alexandra.

“And you, too,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost. “And I don’t mind if you’re the one to win.”

“It’s the wind, boys/

“Screaming like Banshees from Hell//

“Give ‘er Hell, boys/

“Or that’s where we will dwell.”

(Image) https://www.stives-cornwall.co.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/Sea-shanty.jpg

A Bear Does Whatever It Wants In The Woods

bears-trail-camera-nova-scotia

One Christmas season over a decade ago, I looked after a dog whilst her owners went out of town.

Tibbit is a big, friendly dawg who likes inspecting piles of leaves. She has a long lead which her benevolent human allows to go as far as possible. She knows (better than her accompanying human) that there are treats at the end of each walk.

One Saturday I didn’t get Tibbit out until after dark. We skirted the university (where her masters work) and went up a street bordering the campus. We both liked the Christmas lights. Near the top of the street we met an inebriated gentleman, warning us of a bear in the surrounding woods.

“Flush him out,” said he, pointing at the dog, “And I’ll get my 3 aught 3.”

“Get the rifle first,” I replied.

We then went our respective ways.

Tibbit and I doubted the veracity of the gentleman, so when we came to a trail through the woods, we took it. I will admit I did peer more intently into the gloom than usual. One trail led to a larger trail, which led back to the university. We advanced without incident.

On Sunday, I again walked Tibbit toward the university, though from a different direction. It was a crisp, clear day, and she gamboled (as much as the leash allowed ) through the new fallen snow. Sunshine gleamed. This time we were on the other side of the campus, but our walk eventually led to a position about half a mile away from where we were the previous evening.

We followed another trail into the woods, and admired the sun through the fir trees. The path was wide and sloped. It came to a turn some distance away, that led us even closer to where we were the day before. At the top of the slope, Tibbit stopped dead in her tracks.

She stared and stared. 

She glanced briefly into the woods, but mainly kept staring along the trail.

I saw nothing nor heard anything (and I was intent upon both).

Tibbit did not move and made not a sound. She just kept staring. After a solid two minutes of this, I started to backtrack.

She made no complaint.

You betcha she got her dog treats.

(image) https://i.cbc.ca/1.4288335.1505334305!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/original_620/bears-trail-camera-nova-scotia.jpg

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