23 Feb, 2010 | Posted by: photosource

My Story


Dutch farmer

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Germany sketch

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Germany sketch

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Germany sketch

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RAIN TALK - 1957

On the outskirts of town that afternoon, I pulled my Vespa into an inviting grassy knoll on the edge of the river. A couple of big trees were on either side. A campfire was still smoldering inbetween. The campers had thrown some water on it. I set up my pup tent and sleeping bag. I would spend the night here.
Across the Rhine River’s width, giant redstone castles of the 15th century lay aging in the hillside greenery. Boy! What a sight! Just like the post cards. I decided to make a sketch of the scene.

The warm May sun beat down on me as I worked on the sketch. There was activity on the river. A touring ship filled with sightseers was sailing by. People waved to me. The tourists probably couldn’t see I was sketching the scenery. Some waved to me. Young boys were rowing boats near the shoreline. They waved to me.

I was finding out that my sketchbook and my guitar were passports of friendship for me as I traveled. The guitar seemed to say, “We have something in common –music.” And the sketchbook said, “You like my village, or churches, or bridges enough that you choose to sketch it.” That was pretty good. It was like having these two companions along with me too. I didn’t look like a vagrant or a highway robber or something to someone.

Now that’s a nice thing. So if you’re planning on taking a vagabond trip, there’s two secrets for you. Take a guitar and a sketchbook along, even if you don’t know how to use them!

The highway down the hill from my knoll was buzzing with tiny European cars breezing along with open windows loaded with picnickers. As they zipped by some of the passengers could see me atop the knoll. Some waved to me.
I put down my sketchbook and relaxed in the pleasant surroundings. I found myself in a zone I had come to recognize. The whole world seemed happy, and most of all, me! So far, my trip was going well. I was sorta numb. Was this freedom? I felt suspended in an atmosphere I had not known. Flashes of memories came back to me of the last day of school in 5th grade where all of us went through that thick heavy oak front door of Lincoln Grammar into the bright June outdoors realizing we had the whole summer ahead of us. It belonged to us. Freedom always seems like something you once had, not something you were presently experiencing. Well, I was experiencing it.
I sat on the green plot at the edge of the Rhine, basking in my thoughts. Not only the summer stretched out before me as all mine, but my whole life. I had no wristwatch. N o calendar, no To-Do list, no agenda. There were no more schedules, bells, loud noises, key chains, clocks, telephones. Time didn’t matter. I was free to do anything in whatever direction I chose.

There would be no disturbing knocks at the door of my life. That mirror on the edge of my shoulder examining my every moment, was missing, something had shattered it. This was great. Those warnings from my friends in Wuerzburg were just fading words. I had cancelled my career and headed off with the wind.
Was this my reward? I thought to myself. For some fleeting moments I was experiencing that elusive feeling of freedom. Would I capture this again on my trip?

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