Spring frost

img_4059By the end of March I’d started taking Ginger on daily walks up the trails near my mom’s house in Germany. There were two sets of trails, but I didn’t know what they were called so I referred to one as the spring/summer trail and the other, as fall and winter. The fall and winter trails started above the train station on the other side of a river called the Nekar. The other trails were on the far end of a valley we called the golden fields.

We had been in Europe eight months by the end of March, having rented our house out to a family of friends and taken our kids out of school. We spent the first three months planted in Germany, trying to learn the language and home school. After 90 days we had to leave the region though, so we bought a used car and drove to the UK where we traveled another 90 days before returning to the Schengen in late January.

I hadn’t worked in more than a year now and knew it was time to start thinking about work, but didn’t want to. On those walks with Ginger there were parts of the trail where you could see the Black Forest, a good two hours from my mom’s village. I day dreamed and wrote and imagined what life would be like when we got back to the States. I really just wanted to backpack and write poetry, cook.

In April, Dawn’s mom would be coming over for a mother/daughter, three-week trek through Italy. I planned a couple days in Amsterdam myself, a short, two-hour flight from Stuttgart. The day after I got there, a terrorist strike hit Brussels and I watched the Dutch react to it on the news from a coffee shop. In the morning I took the train to Schiphol and felt a palpable unrest in the airport, suspecting every passerby as terrorist. When I got back to Germany mom and I took Ginger for a walk near a village where they were setting up a circus. We’d take the kids, it was almost Easter, and Dawn and her mom would be getting back soon. Our French friends were coming down too, and it would be a house full of kids and dogs with lots of late night cooking and laughter. Just like old times.

There are parts of the trail on Cougar Mountain that remind me of the spring/summer trail in Germany. Sometimes I can transport myself back there for a minute, by imagining what the trees and light looked like. The trail is flat and wide, and they’re planting conifers now because the red alders die after 80 or 90 years. It’s thinning out, letting in more sky. Patches of frost on last year’s leaves, the dog crunching through. No other sounds save a bird call or woodpecker somewhere far off, drumming a dead tree.


Categories: Memoir, travel, writing

Tags: , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. That last paragraph brings on a yearning to be nearer forest … got our fingers crossed we’ll be able to roam a bit this coming summer, but can’t count on it … so yeah, transporting via imagination is the ticket! Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Jazz! Glad to trigger a good old fashioned nature yearning! Wishing you well that you’ll be able to partake soon! Tis the season! Be well and thanks for reading. Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, totally agree with Jazz J, that paragraph, and your photo with the beams of light in the woods, definitely triggers the Waldeinsamkeit yearning. (Is that the right word?) Wandering solo in the woods, or a dog is ok since they’re generally non-talking, that woods in the photo looks very inviting.
    The paths near me are teaming with folks right now, escaping cabin fever I guess. I think the Germans are famous for maintaining even more physical distance than Americans, but the joggers near me are in bunches, I step way off the paths to avoid their clouds of breath-vapor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clouds of breath vapor. Good god. I don’t know what to say about that, except I really don’t want to get it. I go in and out of being cavalier about it and my days of “cavalier” are well behind me, I’m afraid. Love your voice on these comments, always brightens my day. Thanks for reading, Robert! Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know that feeling of coming across a stimulus that makes you feel you’re somewhere else, or reminds you that you were. Activates a longing, definitely.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Never been to Europe. Is that the right verb tense now or should it be something more final?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. https://monthlycritic.wordpress.com/2020/03/26/lost-girls/ My latest review if you fancy reading. The show must go on and thank heaven for Netflix, Curzon, etc in those most unusual times. Welcome to follow.


  6. Beautiful tying together of past and present Bill. I find myself wishing I had done some uninhibited travel as a younger woman, ventured further out, as the opportunities seem less likely, now more than ever. Hope to rectify that when the world becomes more settled. Be well Bill. It’s a jungle out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes wishing that for you, the travel! Odd to consider it now through this dark lens. But great to hear from you as always, down yonder! Be well yourself Ilona. Bill


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