December 6, 2014


The cold bites our faces, it’s the wind outside the door of the building, it always lurks there, waiting for you to turn the corner then run at you with it’s greedy hands out. Skies are gray, gray, gray, with clouds or with fog. If you look out the window from the bed and just see the sky, it’s like you’re in some sort of other world, floating in this soft gray calm, endlessly. Today I made crepes again, we are enjoying them too much. The reason for the crepes is that I brought back maple syrup. I hadn’t had maple syrup for a long, long time. I had some in California but somehow it wasn’t quite right. Two things I brought back from North America; Peanut butter and maple syrup.


I’ve been here for 17 days already… it’s hard to grasp. The peanut butter is gone and the maple syrup just about vanished too. At first I just tried to recover from my 40 hours plus of travel from Montreal to Poland. Then I took a slow pace, not purposefully, it just sort of installed itself.


In a park, the ground is littered with the fallen leaves, orange. The grass still green. The earth is soft and gives easily under our feet. I feel a great sadness in the air, lost souls wandering. As we proceed, we see walls built in the hills… small windows pierce them. They must be 7, 8 feet thick. What is this? It looks military. Later we run into sculptures and monuments. The park is a war memorial. Poland has been caught in the middle of wars for most of its history I read. A cemetery. The Russian side, with gray and black stone heads holds no flowers to grace the tombs. The British side with it’s beige stone heads extending narrowly and somewhat purely out of the ground bear various pious quotes, or quotes from the ones who try to justify those deaths. The Polish graves, adorned with many fresh flowers.


It’s chilling. The horror of it all. Nothing to boast about. I can never agree with war. That is the true end result. The pain that lingers, brutalized souls still in shock, the search of a reason, a why. This is the kind of reality we do not witness so clearly in Canada. Of course there are war veterans, there were two big wars, but we’re too new a country and we’ve not been pounded by enemies on all sides as this country has. Canadian soil has not drunk as much blood from its people.


Poland now, in this city, Everything is so clean. Orderly. Spacious. Humanism I am told this design is called. Large streets, sidewalks, space where it feels good to be. I am told most of the downtown square was rebuilt after total destruction.. There are sculptures gracing buildings everywhere, I am really amazed at the craftsmanship and the art of it. Many Art Nouveau buildings that are just like jewels, every detail crafted with such care. The public transport is very good. People very well behaved. And… so many women… After Istanbul it’s kind of shocking. As I would ask: Where are the women of Istanbul? I now ask: Where are the men of Poland? And the girls are so fashionable, proper, few blue, green, red, haired girls, few visible signs of rebellion. I’m not sure it’s something I like so much.


The air is cold, your hands freeze so quickly. Not one single car horn resonating… when they do it’s actually weird. I took a walk. The horizon where I am, slightly outside of the city center, is a long flat expanse with the protruding apartment buildings. I am taking it easy these days. I miss Istanbul, but I don’t mind this for now. In so few weeks I covered so many miles. More to come too, so now it’s gentle, peaceful.



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