Posted in Europe, History

The old fortress

Back to Germany and back to one of Mom’s favorite hangouts. The old fortress is privately owned these days and was converted into a guesthouse / hotel / and restaurant. A perfect mixture of old world charm with a modern flair. I got to spend the night there a few years back and would definitely do it again. Last year we got to celebrate Mom’s 80’s birthday there and it was a very special day.

This picture was taken at a later time with just Mom and me, enjoying a couple of deers in the foreground of the fortress.

Posted in History

Cemetery Wall

My first bicycle ride took me to the cemetery to visit Dad and water the graves. I stayed for awhile looking at the thick cemetery walls and the ornate wrought iron gate. It was past 9PM and the sun was setting to kiss goodbye another day. It was peaceful and the sound of birds singing filled the air. It was mostly silent and only one other person came who quickly disappeared after watering their grave. It was task, a chore, a duty and nothing more. I talked to Dad for a moment longer and soon was on my way too. The bike ran fine but I think I will take it to the local shop to have all gears adjusted for optimal performance. The bike has 24 gears and I learned that it gets more complex the more gets there are. Better safe than sorry. Remember I already lucked out once it’s the bike installing the wheel wrong.

Posted in Culture, History, Inspiration

Walpurgis Night

Witches with broomsticks and bonfires…oh my.

What do you think when you hear the word witch? Are you frightened or intrigued? Does the mind shift to a vision of ugliness, a person casting evil spells on others, a ghost or goblin to stay far away from, or do you see something else? I never really thought of it myself, but I know that there are different kinds of witches, good and bad. It was a comment that made me pause initially, when my dear friend Amanda seemed to believe that my black power hat might have a pointy tip. In the highest compliment she called me a witch with magic powers, based on my personal beliefs and mantras such as stopping time by living in the now. By turning my challenges into opportunities and make beauty out of everything that I see. And then Walpurgis Night happened shortly thereafter.

The beginning of May enters through many regions of Germany with some old and wonderful traditions. Somehow I felt drawn to Walpurgis Night which is April 30th into May 1st. It is a holiday that is named after Saint Walpurga and is a day that dates back to ancient pagan fertility rites. People would hang foliage sprigs around their homes and leave offerings of food for the dead that was believed to walk the earth. Walpurgis Night is said to be the night when witches flew on their broomsticks and gathered on the Brocken, the highest of North Central Germany’s Harz mountains, to celebrate and revel with the devil and otherwise enjoy themselves. Flying over the regions on their brooms, dancing around giant bonfires, while waiting for dawn to break, and waiving goodbye to winter. Others say it was a celebration and fest to ward off evil spirits. Maps of Germany with “Witches areas” were still drawn for unwary travelers, as late as the 18th century, which leads to believe that they didn’t only appear once a year. I heard that Walpurgis Night used to be celebrated in my hometown on top of the hill with the cross.

A few synchronicities found their way into my life again. One was the comment from Amanda, the timing of Walpurgis Night, the sleepless night of it, as well as this video. It’s from a group I never heard before, but the song immediately drew me in. Further research reveals that the group has contributed music to the TV show Vikings I regularly follow and love. Surprise…

Within the same timeframe I came across Pagan poetry, learned about a soul contract, and was flashed a picture of Brigid, the triple goddess of ruling healing, poetry and smith craft. I had no prior knowledge to either, but my eyes are wide open and I am taking innthe resources and healing along this journey. Tomorrow will be another big day for me, and hopefully I have not scared you away.

Posted in History

The tiny Firehouse

This tiny Firehouse is dating back to 1908 and is located in Johnsville CA. The tiny firehouse is located in a state park called Plumas Eureka and is heavily wooded. I have driven by it a few times and always make it a point to look for it on the side of the road. This time I stopped, and took a photographic memory. I can’t help but wonder what it was like to fight a raging Forrest fire back then with the help of this tiny firehouse that is perhaps still housing the old equipment, and perhaps even one old fire engine. The odds of winning and controlling a fire had to be very slim back in those days.

Posted in History, Photography

The old mine

This is one of the old buildings remaining at Jamison Creek Mine. I photograph it each time I happen to hike by and there is something about the nailed shut windows and the rock foundation that always draws me in. It’s a bit spooky, mysterious and haunting, but also full of history and life. Coming back from a long hike late in the afternoon, the sun hit it just right, casting a beautiful spectacle of shadow and light against the facade. I had to pause to capture the image, which I later digitally enhanced even more to add drama to a moment that was already spectacular. It’s fun to push the boundaries at times, to add and transform the image even further. Most likely an attribute to my rebellious nature, but you know what they say. “A picture speaks a thousand words”, and this one speaks of long past times, backbreaking labor and hard work, sweat and tears and a way of life during mining days.