augury doggerel

Sunday, August 11, 2002


This time last year, on her father's recommendation, the woman and I were on the Baltic coast in a village of about a thousand permanent residents. I don't think her father saw it when the tourists � close to a million of them each summer, and most of them younger than 21 � came through. He couldn't have known. Or he hates me. Nothing is less peaceful, less pulse-slowing, less relaxing, than ownerless teenagers in very large numbers and very small bathing suits. Every business in town was designed to please the sort who cruises the street in an upended stadium-sized speaker column on wheels, or who envies those who do. We found rare hours of quiet in the woods or at night after the bars and discos had closed and most of the lights had gone out. The sky over the beach on a clear summer night between the hours of two and four is all you'd ever need of forever. But stay away, or be deaf or seventeen.

This year we'll spend a few days inland, at a place that specializes in horse riding and (I hope) quiet and flowers and birds and trees. I'm a bit nervous about their other line of work, which is the breeding of German shepherds, but as long as they turn out to be dog breeders and not a eugenics laboratory turning out sheepherders named Gustav and Gretel, things should be fine. Just in case, though, I might dust off my lederhosen.


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