Vista #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

vista

 

“Soon we will be back, walking those hills, and finding ourselves, again.”

It’s true, she thought, life is an eternal come back.

Simply, we change, not the hills, not the sky. Only us grow old.

Or it feels like it.

So, we will have to rewrite the story, or is it stories?

Will the nights be as silent, the vistas as inspiring?

Will we retrace our steps, or lose our way, as if in a foreign land?

How do we rewind time?

Dream #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

dream

 

They were back, still in a daze, amazed at the colours, the air, the clouds. She took his hand, in silence, knowing he could not be reached, yet. Was this real? Or was it a dream, another dream? If it was, then she did not want to wake him up, or herself. Not now.

If it was a dream, was there a purpose? Were they expected to go back, abort the mission, or go forward, further still into the future? Was this land their world, was it now, or was it down the tunnel of time? Then who was treading the sand under their feet?

Dakar

Silver #writephoto

Thursday writing prompt

silver-1

 

“I am glad you brought me here, Paul,” she said in a whisper, “I have never seen water on this scale. Even here, this small pool. And the wet sand…”

The boy looked back at her, his young bride, as through her veil he saw the blue in blue eyes. “This is Caladan, a water world. Eighty percent of the globe is oceans. I was born here. You can imagine how I felt when I came to Arrakis…”

They were both silent. A small displacement of air signalled the arrival of their transport. Soon, at the top of the dune, their escort appeared in the traditional long robes.

“M’Lord, your transport is ready when the Princess and your Lordship are.”

“We are, General, we were admiring the silver reflection in the lagune.”

Inspired by Sue’s prompt on Thursday, and thoughts of Caladan. I must say I look forward to Villeneuve’s Dune.

A tale of two worlds

Recently I have indulged in some fantasy. This is the story of a man who appears to live in two very different places, with the same companion.

Dakar_Senegal_-_Looking_North_(5274051599)

 

He sensed she’d moved out of the room and must be in the kitchen, making coffee, as every morning. Here, in the city near the sea, their routine was fixed: rise at six, coffee, gym, shower and swim, breakfast, then work for four hours, which normally took him till about four in the afternoon. The rest of the day was a matter of mood. May be a walk in town, another swim, followed by a drink by the sea, in one of the many little bars of the harbour. Some other day it was sex, and then dinner in one of their favourite fish restaurants, under the stars.
That morning he reflected on the last night’s dreams. Slowly he got up, put-on his lose kimono and walked to the kitchen. She was there, naked, as he liked to see her first in the day. Coffee was brewing. She came to him with the usual words, a miracle of sensuality and attachment. The dreams had taken him, and her, far away, in a world he did not recognise, but knew was, would be, had been their world. There, like here, his special talents and knowledge had made him, them, indispensable. There, like here, she was his guardian angel, his indispensable alter ego. She asked him about the dreams, and listened, her face showing a profound attention. He told her he did not know where the planet was, and she said she would try and find out when he was asleep.

Image: By Jeff Attaway from Abuja, Nigeria – Dakar Senegal – Looking North, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73952615

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Gallery #SixSentenceStory

Wednesday’s Six Sentence Story Challenge #4

computer earphone figurine furniture

Photo by cody berg on Pexels.com

 

He looked back at the portraits of his ancestors, on the walls of the dusty gallery, and wondered.

What would they think of him, this ruin of a man, this wreckage?

There is no trace of glory for them to see, merely the shameless face of a sinner, a deluded thief.

But then, he is here, still, and they are long gone, ashes and dust, forgotten.

Sic fugit gloria mundi, he thought…

As his skeletal hand rubbed his polished, fleshless skull.

Partir?

DSC_0449

 

How to leave the city? Setting aside the why (perhaps one day?) how is the question. Maybe the correct answer is: we don’t, ever, we may be elsewhere, but our minds and hearts stay here. Maybe we’ll reminisce, as Frederick writing to Voltaire, much, much later (in fact many wars and forty years later) about Rheinsberg: I had the happiest years of my life there… It is impossible to forget anything: the tree-lined streets, deserted on Sundays, the granit monuments that remind us of the terrible events, the canals, the lakes, the sand, the Spätis opened all night, the parks, the crows… The little markets, the narrow lanes, a city from where one can travel, on an old bike, away from traffic, and lose oneself in deep forests…

We will long for the museums, the concerts, the sheer grandeur of those avenues, history always present, without fuss, without pretense. In many ways we won’t leave, even if, three months from now, there will not remain more than a shadow of our presence here, perhaps a stolen bike in some flee-market.

Guests of young Frederick of Prussia

From: the Bolivian orchestra stranded in a German Castle

Bolivian orchestra

 

“The breathing techniques required to play these instruments for a few hours put you in a kind of trance,” says Miguel Cordoba, who plays the siku flute.

But as soon as the rehearsal finishes they are all too aware of how their life has changed. Because they are not rehearsing back home in La Paz, Bolivia, but in the shadow of a German castle where they have been stranded for 73 days.

The musicians, most of whom have never left Bolivia before, were expecting to spend just over a fortnight this spring touring east Germany’s concert halls.

Instead they are holed up in the buildings and grounds of the sprawling estate of Rheinsberg Palace, a moated castle which has been home to generations of German royalty and aristocracy, an hour and a half’s drive northwest of Berlin.

Rheinsberg_2003_1

As the musicians, some of whom are as young as 17, touched down in Germany on 10 March for their tour, news broke that Berlin had become the seventh German region to impose a ban on gatherings of 1,000 people or more in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our bus broke down on the motorway. I remember joking that this was bad luck and perhaps our concerts would be cancelled,” recollects Carlos, “but never did I think it would actually happen.”

Their three planned performances were cancelled in the days that followed, and as Bolivia’s government announced it would close its borders, the orchestra scrambled to get home but failed.

Germany’s ban on mass gatherings was swiftly followed by a full lockdown, meaning the musicians are only allowed to roam as far as the forest that lines the perimeter of the estate.

So their free time is spent rehearsing in the nearly 600-year-old palace grounds and exploring the surrounding woodland, home to 23 packs of wolves.

Only on Monday did they get the chance to step inside the castle for the first time as tours for the public reopened.

“It’s very different to my home, it’s very beautiful,” says 25-year-old Miguel.

“There are worse places to be trapped. When I wake up, I watch the sun rise over the forest and the lake. Back home, I only hear the sound of traffic.”

But despite the picturesque natural surroundings, the musicians are worried they have been forgotten.

“We feel abandoned,” says Carlos, who’s spent several thankless hours on the phone to the Bolivian embassy trying to find a way to get home.

The group had only been in Germany for a week when Bolivia’s president announced the country’s border was set to close within days, and all international flights had been suspended.

Arrangements were swiftly made by the German foreign office and Bolivian embassy to reserve seats on one of the last flights out of Germany to South America, landing in Lima, Peru.

The group was initially relieved.

“When we were on the way to the airport, we were all in good spirits, laughing and chatting,” says Camed Martela, 20.

But then Carlos received a call to say the flight had been cancelled as the plane was not allowed to land in Peru.

“The mood suddenly became sombre – everyone on the bus went quiet,” he says.

From that moment, the 6,000 miles (9,656km) between Germany and Bolivia seemed further than ever.

Tracy Prado, who only joined the orchestra in December, remembers thinking about her daughter’s 11th birthday which was coming up a few weeks later.

“I had got my hopes up and it was devastating to think I would miss this important day,” she says.

The group decided the only way to cope was to put together a strict practice schedule – three hours before lunch, three hours after, experimenting with a fusion of traditional Andean music and more contemporary genres.

“Indigenous music is all about the principle of community – everybody can take something from what they are and offer it to the group,” says Carlos.

“You feel the same as your ancestors felt when playing these traditional instruments, which is a beautiful thing,” adds Miguel, whose roots stretch back to Bolivia’s Kallawaya people known for their musical healing ceremonies.

Some members of the orchestra speak to their families in Bolivia. For others, communication is near impossible as internet and telephone signals are patchy outside Bolivia’s main cities.

Many of the musicians play a major role in providing for their families financially, and being unable to do this at the moment is exacerbating their anxiety.

In an interview with Bolivia’s flagship station Radio Panamericana, foreign minister Karen Longaric was asked for her response to the orchestra’s case after a distraught mother of one of the musicians called in.

Longaric suggested the orchestra left knowing the borders were set to soon close, although Bolivia had not recorded a single coronavirus case on the day they left.

She also said the government’s priorities were elsewhere – repatriating “the most vulnerable – women, children, sick people and the elderly”.

Carlos says there seems to be little sympathy for the orchestra back in Bolivia.

“People back home think we’re in a fairytale land,” he says, rolling his eyes. “I’ve had hundreds of messages telling me to stop complaining, and that I’m living like a princess in a German castle.”

Camed is disappointed they have not been able to perform as planned.

“We’d been preparing since January so I became quite depressed as I watched everything we’d prepared for get taken away like this.

“The orchestra helped me get back on track after the death of my dad. My family were so proud of me when they heard I was flying to Europe to perform my country’s music.”

The town of just over 8,000 people, also called Rheinsberg, has largely been welcoming towards the Bolivian visitors, if a little bemused by their presence.

“When I leave the hostel alone, I do feel a little self-conscious,” Camed says. “Sometimes I get strange looks and people stop and stare.”

Some go further than a raised eyebrow, perhaps confused by the fact that the musicians appear to be flouting Germany’s social distancing rules, as it may not be immediately obvious that they have been allowed to classify themselves as a family unit.

He says on one of the occasions the Bolivians played a game of football on the meadow directly in front of the castle. They soon found themselves surrounded by six police officers “in full riot gear, just short of a helmet”, says Timo Kreuser, one of three German musicians who helped facilitate the tour and are staying with them.

“They came from from left and right and started to encircle us and things got a little tense,” recalls Miguel.

“In the end, they just told us that we couldn’t congregate in such a large group, but it wasn’t too serious.”

“The police are used to it now, so they just phone me and it’s always resolved,” says Timo.

Timo has been keen to help the musicians, partly to repay the favour of their own hospitality when he was with them in La Paz in October. Violent protests led to the resignation of the president and Carlos and the orchestra helped Timo evacuate to Peru.

Generosity and offers of help have been in plentiful supply from most people.

The kitchen staff at the guest house the musicians are living in come in to work wearing masks and maintain a distance from their Bolivian guests.

“We are so grateful for the food and the roofs over our heads,” says Tracy, who speculates she’s one of only a few in the group who enjoy the local delicacies.

And, of course, they have the woodland to explore. Tracy says she spotted three wolves while out walking recently

“I froze in fear but they were just play fighting and moved on.”

It is not just wolves they look out for.

One of the palace’s former inhabitants was Frederick the Great, who was given ownership of the estate by his father in 1736 before he ascended to the throne, and described his time at Rheinsberg as his “happiest years”.

A close friend of Frederick, reflecting on his impressions of Rheinsberg, wrote “the evenings are dedicated to music. The prince has concerts in his salon, where no-one is admitted unless called”. One of those who performed was reportedly JC Bach.

“We all joke that Frederick’s ghost is following us and trying to trip us up,” says Camed. “I don’t usually believe in such things but it does feel as if there are ghosts on the grounds.”

As the seasons shifted from early spring to summer, the musicians’ heavy clothes packed in anticipation of colder weather were too warm for their long walks around the estate.

But a concerned Bolivian expat in Hamburg has helped out on this front.

“She collected mountains of clothes and sent them to us. We have seven big boxes so far – perhaps too many, we may need to return some or pass them onto someone else in need,” says Carlos.

But despite the generosity and good will, the orchestra worries that its stay cannot be bankrolled forever.

“Accommodation costs are mounting to more than €35,000 ($38,400) a month alone,” says Berno Odo Polzer, the director of MaerzMusik, the festival at which the orchestra were set to perform. It is one of several publicly funded arts programmes which has supported the orchestra’s longer than expected stay.

Germany is allowing international flights again but Bolivia’s borders remain shut for the foreseeable future.

The Bolivian embassy told the BBC it is trying to get the orchestra on a flight to Bolivia in early June out of Madrid.

But Carlos is worried about how things will be once they return too.

“Covid is getting very political back home,” says Carlos.

The Bolivian government delayed the presidential election that was due in March and later tried and failed to force through a decree limiting freedom of expression and criticisms over the handling of the coronavirus crisis.

“I’m dreaming of the day I will be at my bed in Bolivia and say, ‘OK, this is over’ but I also know that on that day I will start missing what is happening here,” admits Carlos.

Rehearsing

Source: BBC News https://www.bbc.com/news/the-reporters-52760380

Picture of Rheinsberg Castle: By Amodorrado – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3362268

Dance #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

dance

 

“Those stones don’t belong to our time, they exist here only in our minds…”

I hear the words, I see the mist, I wish I could go back.

“You don’t need to, just wait for this veil to be lifted in the sunshine, then you will see, the true spirits dancing, alive.”

But I know that the circle of stones is there, has been for millennia. Once upon a time, maybe, the spirits inhabited this land, and what I see now is the proof that they left, leaving us wondering, at a loss, longing for their magic world.

Causeway #writephoto

Thursday writing prompt

causeway

 

This is where we started, in these shallow waters, that erased our steps:

the slippery seaweeds, the smooth rocks, where we dreamed of another shore,

by the violet sea, hidden by parsecs of space,

on the planet of the five stars.

We saw the small waves, at the feet of the goddess, we felt the warmth of the blue sun.

This is where we started, inspired, led by this causeway to the universe,

soon living our dream. So far away, from our world…

I came back, you stayed, and now,

I am forever searching for you, excluded from your paradise.