On a walk along the shore of the Arrow Lake in June I came across a most curious sight. On the ground I spotted a gathering of butterflies which displayed a rather odd behaviour. They were attracted to a grey mass of an object. Tightly bunched together they appeared to be in a drinking frenzy with their proboscises sucking up some undefinable liquid. First I shot a few pictures from several metres away fearing that they might fly away before I had a chance to capture their bizarre behaviour. As I came closer and closer I noticed that they completely ignored my presence. Rather they behaved like people in a bar being in various stages of intoxication. One butterfly was lying on its side sticking its proboscis deep into a crack of the unknown substance. Others sitting on top of one another. I was deeply puzzled. Now I was so close that my camera lens was able to take close-ups at times even touching their wings. Then I finally realized that the source of their attraction was a fish head, which had been left at the beach by a fisherman. I hope you can still enjoy the photos. Apparently butterflies do not always go after the colourful flowers. At times they rather prefer the valuable nutrients of a rotten fish head.
One day in early spring, our mother told us that we would soon be leaving the camp in Aurich, East Frisia; we would move to Velbert, situated in the Rhineland region of West Germany. My mother sounded very excited and joyful because she was born and raised in the Rhineland, a beautiful part of Germany. It meant saying goodbye to my best friend Ingeborg and all our other playmates with whom we had shared so many exciting adventures and experiences.
However, before moving to Velbert, we first had to spend several weeks in a transitory camp in Massen, a small town near Unna, close to Dortmund, our second station in the “Golden West.” I remember from that short stay that my mom was quite upset because we had to sleep in a big dormitory again with lots of strangers. And to make things worse, we had to lie on straw mattresses. But my parents consoled themselves with the prospect that we would soon move to Velbert. That’s where apartment buildings for refugees were being constructed rapidly.
On a bright, sunny day in early Spring, we were loaded with all our luggage and several other families onto the open back of a big, old transport truck with makeshift benches. My brother and I had rarely ridden in a car. This was my first time in a vehicle. For us, it was exciting! My mom thought it was odd that we were transported like baggage. She didn’t like that we were all crammed together in this small, draughty and not too clean space. But my brother and I were laughing with the other kids and some boisterous men enjoying the cool breeze and the changing scenery. After a few hours, we were all shaken up by the bumpy ride. The increasing cool drafts, the loud noise of the motor, and the vehicle’s rattling started to make us feel sick. Suddenly the truck came to an abrupt halt beside an old, dilapidated stone building that looked almost like a dungeon, dark and foreboding.
Cold and rainy weather has plagued our region for the past four weeks. Last week, still recovering from major surgery, I ventured out to look at the low water level of Arrow Lake. BC Hydro expects massive water pouring in from the spring run-offs. So it drained the reservoir down to the lowest allowable level. Many of the tree roots of the flooded orchards are visible. They serve as skeletal monuments against the devastating flooding of the valley more than half a century ago. Using the dark clouds, I attempted with some post-editing to create a sombre atmosphere that underscores the dark mood that the roots spread over the eerie landscape. Enjoy.
Hello, my blogging friends around the globe! I am home again, my colon a few inches shorter, and feeling quite well. I will start reading all your new posts today and hand out likes the easy way. After a few more days, I consider writing comments as well. While I was in the hospital, our son Michael took Biene on several excursions into the nearby lakeside parks in the North Okanagan. It was an excellent way of dispelling her worries about me. Next Wednesday, I will publish the photos she took during her hikes with our son. For all of you, who need some cheering up, myself included, here is a bouquet of wild arnica flowers. Enjoy!
Although I missed my best friend in Gotha, I made many new friends. After school, we would play on the large meadows surrounding the buildings. Contrary to our parents, the restricted living area in that small room was not an issue. We had lots of space and freedom to roam on the meadows and green spaces surrounding the barracks. One day we ventured as a group out of the camp confines to a nearby treed area to play hide-and-seek. It was almost getting dark when one of the kids shouted, “Let’s go back. A dangerous man is trying to catch us!” We raced back to the camp gate with pounding hearts and breathlessly told the attending guard that a dangerous man had pursued us. Although I found out later that none of us had seen this man, we were sure we were telling the truth. In our minds, he existed. I guess this is a small example of mass hysteria. We never ventured into that forest area again.
Later I will tell you about our move to the Old House of Rocky Docky in the Rhineland region of Germany. But now, I want to talk a bit more about our experiences in the refugee camp in Aurich, East Frisia. Most children live in the present. I have always liked to live in the present moment to this day. However, writing my blog now forces me to relive the past.
Recently we added a solar-powered fountain to the birdbath in our yard. The soothing sound and the clean water are great attractions for our feathered friends. In this video, I captured five having a jolly good time frolicking around the and around miniature pool. My wife and I like to watch them while we are having coffee and cake in the mild afternoon air. Enjoy!
This coming Friday, I will have surgery at the Vernon Hospital. My posts are programmed to upload automatically. But I will not be able to give likes and comments for the next couple of days. Sorry!