Cold comfort

English: Waszyngton Av, autumn, Krakow, Poland...

Waszyngton Av, autumn: Aleja Waszyngtona, jesień, Kraków (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I walk through the old town, go to the hostel to get my bag, and go. Autumn has passed through, is passing through the countryside. The landscape is hazy, with smoke or vapour. The haze softens the valleys, the trees turned orange and brown, the apples still caught up on the bare branches of apple trees.

Yesterday was Sunday, the same haziness and stillness. A wan day. I bought ten vintage postcards at a flea market, all written on, 1960s to 80s: vistas of Poland, wildernesses, coast, people running into snow. The man who sold them had shoeboxes full. At one of the galleries in Vienna, an artist, Klimt perhaps, had postcards to his lover on display. Most were just short, scrawled linesI’ve arrived, an impression. Once that was how you told somebody that you were fine.

Later, I walked through a woodland park, drank tea in a cafe, and finally, walked back to the hostel. The paleness and stillness does something to time: time seems either less or more than what it is, like past and present overlapping in the immediacy of the day. Defeated, flooded, silent.

A few weeks ago Gretchen’s Happiness Project emailed a quote about walking: Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it (Kierkegaard, letter, 1847). Which isn’t quite how I want it to be in my memory.

In mode of a scrapbook, I finished the novel The Life of Pi a few weeks ago. The final idea haunted me for a while; the story of the boy and the animals in the lifeboat, or, the story of the boy and the mother and the crew and a cannibal in the lifeboat: which one do you prefer. I had an idea, but it’s in my notebook, which is in my locker. I think it was something like, the world is the world whether God exists or not, but it’s enriching to believe that He does (according to the narrator).

Once in a gift shop I read a quote ‘there are no mistakes’. Pema says The path is the goal. And somewhere, Be yourself.

One of the museums was a house set up as a traditional family home, all cluttered with furniture and objects. The card read horror vacui (fear of the void), typical accumulation of works of art, brick-a-brac, and artistic artifacts, which can still be seen in contemporary K— houses (paraphrased).

A common mode for windows is a spacious windowsill, on which sits one or more pot plant, and a lace curtain falls flat and opaque to conceal the room.


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