Monday, October 26, 2009

Castles, Coffins, and Peaceful Slumber

It seems I've been sleeping long and heavy, forgetting that there is a world out there, possibly interested in my comings and goings. Perhaps that's because it's sometimes hard to remember that there really is a world beyond the daily goings on in my own mini drama. Hard to keep everything in the proper perspective.
It's easy to feel as though I'm drifting slowly off the map. Far from those who love me, I quickly become disconnected and begin to lose sight of how the world began. I had three days in which I was so on top of things, and then the world started turning again, and things began to spin out of my control once more.
I used to think it was possible that I could be a writer. I thought I really was able to write in such a way that people would want somehow to listen. Then I began to meet other people with similar dreams. I read their words and found myself, if not inadequate, than merely equally so. Not so unique or gifted. Just another voice blowing in the wind. But I know there are those out there that care, those that want to hear the lilt of my voice in written form. So here I am, trying to make some small amends.
I can't exactly say that my life is full of ever so important moments. I've not been doing anything I feel is really worthy of a newsletter. No souls saved from the tempests of this life. No great victories over darkness. No trips to new exotic lands. It's just my life that keeps on going. I'm trying so hard to sink my fingers into that life. Trying to take days captive, to make sense of all that God has thrown my way this year. It seems there really is too much for me to really make the most of it all. I've lost the sense of team. Sometimes I feel I've just become selfish, wanting everything to fall into my own timing. Other times I feel I'm just adrift...And through it all I'm learning so much about what it means to truly love another person, equally imperfect, equally willing...
I won't deny I've often lived the life naive. The dreams of those much younger, never actualized, seemed likely avenues for real life. Silly girl. But now I see that love is harder and more beautiful than I ever imagined. It takes work, and is full of surprising rewards along the way. It also means less time to work on other relationships, and likewise less desire to do so. This is where I begin to feel selfish, and, unfortunately, that often causes me to feel alone as well.
But I wasn't really meaning to spend this entire blog trying to puzzle out the meaning of my life at the moment. I was planning to fill in a few missing moments that those who chose to read might feel like they know what's going on in the life of the illusive transient drifter.
It's been great fun traveling with Mark to towns in the area of Cheb. Some I'd been to before, other's I hadn't. It's amazing to see all the places he's never taken the time to visit. You know, you often don't check out the things close to home because you have time to do it someday. We've both enjoyed being able to check out places we wouldn't have much reason to visit alone.
After the big trip to Prague, people might think that the area around Cheb would seem a bit lack luster. Far from it. There are so many amazing little villages and communities in this area. Just imagine living in a place scattered with castles. Ancient structures chock full of history and memories. Even here in town we often pause to listen for some whisper from the past in the bricks and stones that represent walls built by those long dead.
Our first mini trip was to the town of Loket. (We later enjoyed seeing this same lovely little spot featured in the movie Casino Royale where it is supposed to be Monaco or something like that.) I've always really enjoyed Loket, and have been there close to ten times in the past couple of years. Mark, who has lived in the area his entire life, vaguely recalls visiting the castle there once as a child. So we both enjoyed walking around the castle walls, following the old trails, enjoying the cafe view that Goethe loved so well, and then hiking out to the magnificent rocks by the river.

We also had the chance to check out an exhibition at the library there of old books. they showed the process for binding leather books, and had a lot of ancient tools there as well. I was especially impressed by a modern version of an Edgar Allen Poe book. I was certain Julie would really have loved seeing all the leather work and really wished I could have taken her there with us. In all it was a lovely afternoon.

The next weekend Mark and I headed to the town of Becov to see the castle there. Unfortunately, the castle itself was not open to visitors due to reconstruction :( We were, however, able to go to the Chateau which was also really interesting. There was an ancient relic hidden there during the Second World War and discovered there in the mid 80s. Unfortunately, it was in such sorry shape by that point that they felt the need to completely reconstruct it. While they went through a pretty impressive process to do so, it's kind of sad that it's just a recreation, rather than the original. Somehow loses the value in the modernization, even though they merely tried to return it to it's original state. It's supposed to hold the bones of three ancient saints, but randomly has the bones of an unknown woman as well. Curious...
Mostly we just enjoyed the chance to wander about the place. It was sad to hear all the things that the communists did to ruin the place. It was used as a school during those days, and countless works of art were stored in random places, shoved together in disarray. So sad to see how hard they worked to "normalize" all things of beauty.

Our next venture was to Karlovy Vary. The primary reason, I'm a bit ashamed to admit, was to go to McDonalds. In my defense, it was Mark's idea, and not mine. The boy is rather excessively fond of McD's cheeseburgers. Cheap and hot. It works. Fortunately, we were able to see a few things of greater value as well. We traipsed around the town, a place I've been a large number of times as well, and found places I'd never been before as well. We hiked up and got some nice views of the streets:

We also found an old cemetery. Being both big fans of these places of rest we were really excited about it all. It was a nice distraction for Mark who has trouble not being endlessly disturbed by the way the Russians seem to be devouring the city of Karlovy Vary.

This now brings us to last weekend when, on a whim, we went out to the tiny town of Plana. I've become well acquainted with the train station in Plana, seeing as how for some months now I've had to get off the switch from bus to train and vise versa there due to construction on the tracks. However, I'd never actually gone into the town at all. So we decided to check things out there. Mark used to transfer there on his way to school when he was younger, so he knew a bit of what he was looking for there.
We wandered around the old church and were saddened by how some of the old grave stones are now used as stepping stones.

We found a potential dream home there as well :)

Or maybe it's just the only place in the world the two of us might be able to afford ;)
He also showed me the old building where they used to mint coins in the old days. Plana used to be a silver mining town, but now it's not much of anything. Sad to see these old buildings in such pathetic states of disrepair. Much of this was also brought on by the communists who were definitely no respecters of history.

Our last stop in Plana was yet another cemetery. We both enjoyed walking amongst the stones, imagining the lives of the people, wondering about what led to their demises, pondering the curious photos on some of the stones. We discovered a couple things neither one of us had ever seen before. At the top of the cemetery there was a small yard where the ashes of the departed can be tossed. A fresh addition was there in clear sight. A bit disconcerting, but nothing in comparison to our next discovery...
Every small crack or crevice in the graves caught Mark's attention. He was always wondering if it would be possible to look down inside and see if anything was there, but not really expecting the chance. Then, as we came across some old German graves, he was given just the opportunity he so craved.
He was like a little boy in a candy store, peering down into the depths. He then encouraged me to do so as well. We were pretty sure we saw a mouldering skull there, but it was hard to see with all the leaves and rubbish that had blown into the opening as well. The next opening, however, granted us a very clear view of a skull, eye sockets empty and staring, nasal cavity vacant. Mark was giddy with it all. The real curiosity in this hole was that, whilst the tombstone sported only the name of some unknown German man, there were two skulls in the grave! Craziness. It was really quite a day.
And now I must away to my Czech class. I keep attempting, but with little success...

1 comment:

Joni said...

Ps. Girl Mark is a cutie. Please do"dish". :)