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Breitenstein is not an old man to me

November 10, 2011 1 comment

Breitenstein is not an old man to me, because I knew him 50 years ago, when he was in his thirties, always in a hurry, always looking like a CIA agent with his conspicuous hat, long black coat and the brown leather briefcase. I like that he didn’t change his outfit one little bit in all these years – except that he is unable to take the briefcase as he walks with a walking frame now. His back hurts badly and he is unable to stand erect.

But Breitenstein is still in a hurry as he is a writer and eager to get back to his typewriter, yes: typewriter. I hear him hitting the keys as early as 6am when I pass his apartment walking the dog. Typing, typing, typing for decades without ever publishing anything, apparently without any reader on his mind, any reader but himself.

Breitenstein, a configuration of remarkable energy, always under pressure, receding into the haze of time, leaving an apartment with shelves of paper, paper, paper.

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Categories: story, Writing

A Murderous Hike

February 6, 2011 Leave a comment

The photo was shot in Floyd, Va the morning after a 10 hour hike in the Blued Ridge Mountains.

Morning after murderous hike
Photo © 2010 Sabine Langnau

We wanted to do a hike through a gorge, 10.8 miles, started a bit late, 11.30 am, asked a park ranger whether the trail was open and that we wanted to do the hardest part 1st. According to his directions we started – and it started harder than we had thought, down a very steep slope with lots of debris of trees from the last heavy storms. We had to climb over or under many fallen trees.

After 4 hours we came to a milepost and found we had not even made 1/2 way – but we were at the ground of the gorge and the way was easier. Because the Ranger had said the other part would be easier we went on. All went well for some hours, the sun went lower and lower – and then came a steep ascending slope, some creeks we had to cross, beautiful country, then a terribly devastated slope, terribly steep and then the path ended! 😦

We searched that slope for the path, had to climb, fell – and the sun was setting, not a soul in sight. We knew that we were close to our car – but we couldn’t find the way in the thicket and the emerging darkness.
So we decided to turn back to a place where we had seen fire road. That was 3 hours behind us and when we reached it, it was solid dark. There was a box with a map there and we tried to read it with the light of my Love’s mobile, I photographed it with a flashlight and we looked at it in the camera and so we followed that road which seemed to lead to the Blue Ridge Parkway at some point.

We walked down that road – and then came a light and a colony of weekend homes – but we saw no people. Finally the fire road reached a bigger road and there I saw people at their house loading the car. It was 9:30 pm and we were in the dark so I was a bit afraid to alarm them and called: “Hello! Is this the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway?” Ahhhh – and we were in America!!! “Come on up”, said the woman and called her husband. “We are going to pass the Blue Ridge Parkway, if you want a ride you are welcome.” And those wonderful guys not only brought us the 5 miles to the Parkway, but at least 5 miles more on the Parkway to our car.

And that’s the end of the adventure. And if I look guilty – well: it WAS a bit stupid to undertake such a walk at that late our and to rely completely on the word of a ranger.

Hey, but weren’t those guys great? I was really moved. And I felt every single bone in my body …

Categories: story

Chilling at Canyon Lake

April 16, 2009 1 comment

We were resting on a bench under a huge tree at Canyon Lake, Texas, glad not to have to walk the 0.8 miles across the dam in the already hot April sun.
Canyon-Lake
Canyon Lake. By Detlef.
On the bench beside us there was a Lady reading in – guess what? – the Holy Bible. As things usually develop in Texas, we got talking about God and the world, the devastating flood in Galveston, children, whether it’s good to have them or not, various diseases, cell phones: you name it.

And then the unspeakable tempted me to ask:

Me: “Do you think there is a devil?”

She: “I don’t know. What do you think?”

Me: “I don’t know either. But if there is an almighty God …”

She: “Yeah! He’s got all the power!”

Me: “But why did he make room for the devil?”

She: “But he gave him the boot! He kicked him out of heaven.”

Me: “Yeah, Lucifer. Oh you precious morning-star, how deep hast thou fallen!”

She: “Well, I see you know your Bible.”

And then we talked about places where people are being hung because of the colour of their skin, of money falling upwards to those that already have it en masse.

And then we noticed we were blessed: being able to sit in the shade of a huge tree at a beautiful lake in Texas, strangers meeting, exchanging thoughts and feelings and then parting again.

He gave him the boot.

“It was a pleasure to talk to you.”

“Yes, it was. My pleasure.”

God bless you.