Posts Tagged 'time travel'

Vantage points

In life, there are different perspectives…
Hearts beat to different times,
Memories are caught in grand moments
— or small —
That we cannot explain to others, as though trapped
In a Faulkner novel that repeats

That repeats
That re-beats

Until it falls out of memory and skips back to
Moving forward.
With just one timeline to light our steps.

 ©rjn, 13 April 2016

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A bit like Castrovalva

Up on the hillside behind the hotels and restaurants are the rose gardens of a monastery, a castle, a deer preserve — all on terraces.

RapperswilEverything seems circular — up a long staircase cut into the hill, and you’re up past the monastery and into the castle grounds, then to a church, and then back down to the main part of town. I only had a day to myself, unfortunately, but I managed to get out of Zurich so I could see some of the country. The older part of Rapperswil-Jona felt a bit like Castrovalva in Dr. Who (probably due to all the different steps going up and down, and the circular terraces), only without the Master hiding somewhere. There’s an island in the middle of the lake/river where there once was a prehistoric pile dwelling and others nearer the shore; I did walk out on a wooden bridge that was supposed to be near one of the sites. According to a UNESCO website dedicated to Pile Dwellings around the Alps, there are remains of older civilizations that you can walk over without knowing it throughout Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, and Slovenia.

I took lots of pictures of the mountains across the plain. More photos will pop up in my flickr feed on the side, probably, but not a great deal of insight on which mountain peak I captured in a photo. Link to the Tardis Wiki for the Castrovalva plotline here. Not to be confused with the actual Castrovalva, in Italy, which clings to a much larger hillside (the inspiration for one of Escher’s prints, which I think were in turn inspiration for the Dr. Who episode… stuck in a bit of recursion.)

Places worth revisiting – Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary in the 1980s was an amazing mashup of historic buildings, hills in the distance, and armed Soviet guards in the subways. The subways had massively steep inclines, which were miserable in the snow of January. The electric trolleys were a different shape than they are in the States, with speedy reflexes on your part being your only hope of jumping safely on and off. No one seemed to speak English, and German was the only common language I had with the shopkeepers.

The city was beautiful, the people seemed friendly, and it’s just one of those places that is worth a revisit, even if it’s only in my daydreams.

  1. Fabulous monuments like the Fischerbastei. Here’s an aerial view (from the sky: look at the turrets hugging the cliff)
  2. Amazing churches that show the blend of historic influences on their walls, like Matthiaskirche
  3. A Dominican cloister preserved within the walls of the local Hilton hotel (we stared at the ancient well through the windows)
  4. Hotel Gellert (I really don’t know how the tour afforded to book us here, but we loved gawking at the spa and mineral baths,but weren’t brave enough to go in among all the businessmen in towels)
  5. The Central market, with its garlic vendors, rabbit hutches, and more fruit pyramids than I’d seen before
  6. And of course, the Hungarian National Gallery in the Royal Palace

So, if you could go back to someplace you visited in your youth — where and why? (Yes, this is the sort of stuff I think about while commuting. Much better than thinking bad words at people who don’t use turn signals.)

Jogging into a gilded past

One of the benefits of living in a small, but relatively old city, is the way neighborhoods built in different eras retain their character. In Philadelphia, you can get on the el and be in almost any kind of neighborhood in a very short time (modern, from the 1920s, or even back into the 1700s). Boston and Chicago have the same fluidity between time periods, and a visitor can wonder what era of architecture they’re looking at.

Here at Church and Graveyard, one can jog in one direction, and wind up in a neighborhood with houses from the 1930s and maybe a little bit older. If you jog in the other direction, you wind up in a neighborhood with ornamental fountains, fancy houses from the 1930s, and manicured lawns. Tonight, as I did my post-Thanksgiving run/stagger, I decided to go around one of the ornamental fountains where the carp are in the summer. The last of the sun was setting, the fountains were frozen and reflecting the darkening sky, and I passed a stone house with a beautiful room with windows on three sides. It had a golden harp set up in the front window, with a black baby grand piano behind it. I could just imagine the glittering party planned there, complete with a caterer, glittering candles, and a small recital.

And then I jogged/walked back up the hill, and was back in my normal wooden house from the 1800s (that would look better with new paint and shutters, I admit). It’s fun to look at other peoples’ glittery lives from a distance, even if it’s only in books. I love my house, and my quiet Thanksgiving celebrations, although now I’m craving harp music to listen to. Happy Thanksgiving from the corner of Church and Graveyard. I hope yours was a happy celebration, with only a small bit of travel to get to Grandma’s house. If you’re not in the USA, and want to know what all the fuss about the food is about, here’s a recipe for sweet potato pie (actually an NPR piece about a chef who learned to make his Nana’s pie recipe), pumpkin pie, and my favorite: roast turkey (basted every 20 minutes with a sauce made of lingonberry jam, port, and butter) and stuffing (I normally use one from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, preferably not one with sausage).

Of gardens, sheep, and clay

The Wordtapestry has been very busy lately, between the Indian Chief irises blooming, the peonies starting to perform, and a whole day without rain this weekend, in which to enjoy them. The Gardener has been very busy, creating holes for some new rose bushes that are due in this week.

But we did take time off to enjoy Maryland Sheep and Wool, on a delightfully overcast Saturday. Sheep were stared at, and stared back at us. Some posed pleasantly for photos (while other getting sheared simply glowered). Photos of the day will appear in my Flicker account eventually (on the sidebar). If you ever go, check out the food hall, where there are selections of lamb-burgers, sliced leg of lamb on a roll, or goat’s cheese platters. I had an awkward conversation with another knitter who was mildly put off that I was eating lamb (although I couldn’t identify if it was because her mother had turned her off lamb as a food, due to bad preparation, or for some other reason, like vegetarianism). There was even a ride back to the car (parked in the overflow lot, way far away) in back of a tractor. A totally satisfying day walking through and poking at everyone’s delightful wares.

I acquired some Icelandic yarn in natural colors from Solitude Wool, a farm in Virginia, and some undyed cormo wool from Winterhaven Farm. The sheep were there, having been shown (all the way from Indiana, judging from the farmer’s business card) that day. I can’t imagine the sheep’s mutinous thoughts as they contemplate the ride back from Howard County, Maryland. The sheep up above are Kerry Hill sheep, if the sign above their pen is to be believed.

The yarn shopping was slim, because I’ve run out of mothproof locations to stash the [um] stash. I guess I’ll need to just knit more things.

And today… Today I sang in the choir, and then later…. I lost 5 hours in the clay studio. Everyone has gone away for summer break from the colleges, so the whole basement was mine. Cornflower had a good conversation on the topic of time flying when you’re having fun. I’m stiff, I’m tired, but I learned a lot about what I can do and what else I should learn. Fingers crossed that I waxed the bottom of the cauldron really well, so no glaze gets between the bottom of the bowl and the kiln.

I hope your weekend was wonderful. As you can see by my jam packed post — not even time to breathe this weekend, but lots and lots of fun.

Feeling jetlagged without taking a flight

Whyfor did the US and Canadian governments think it was a time savings (or a benefit) to jump into Daylight Savings Time/Summer Time before everyone else in the Northern hemisphere? I like a good sunrise along with the next romantic… but I’m sleep deprived, hungry most of the time, and trying to arrange to talk with people in other parts of the world who either do not “celebrate” daylight savings time or who are going to switch later on in the month.

The US population can thank the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and the bright sparks who decided to add an extra month of DST beginning in 2007. I’m not sure who the Canadians need to be angry at. So, no flight to an interesting place, just jetlag and allergies. 🙂 At least it’s sunny on the drive home.

Fairy lights

I’ve been looking at other peoples’ gardens, admiring the lights that line their pathways. Some gardens have lights that mark the undersides of trees, light up unusual rocks, or randomly illuminate blank brick walls. Other garden paths are merely lit by one porch light — the central focus of the dark yard. As we head towards the autumnal equinox, I think about lights in the fields, lights in the darkness, lights that emphasize the darkness and etch it with contrast.

This year, I was visiting a little town outside New York City, in time to see the Tribute in Lights. It was being tested the night before the 11th. The 11th was too cloudy to see the skyline at night, but then the next morning at 5 AM, I saw them again.

I had thought that the last time the lights would show up was last year, and I did not expect to see them. It was magical and startling, like porch lights suddenly snapped on to touch the heavens. 88 searchlights pointed toward the sky are a visual attraction — birds have been confused by the phenomenon. It was worth seeing, but too ephemeral to photograph the next morning. Sad, like a catch in the throat, a feeling of the uncanny, the otherworldly, like weakened twin paths of the moon reflected in the world below.* The rest of the time, it was good to glance over and see the city at daytime, struggling under the haze and fog, or at nighttime, lit up like normal under overcast skies.

*I’m not sure how the survivors and family members feel about the lights, honestly. I am glad they finally made a more permanent memorial. I’d be really sad off if there wasn’t a place (even a tree or a square of earth) to remember loved ones who have passed.


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