I was pretty sure I’d taken that image before. It took me a while to find it and when I did, I recognized that the other image was much more dramatic and arguably better. Well, that boils down to the difference between 9 mm vs 17 mm I guess 🙂
While I write this post, I’m on the train from Vienna to Carinthia. A week ago, at the exactly same time, I sat on the same early train, talking to my sister, both wondering whether we would arrive in Klagenfurt to see our father still alive. My sister left the train in Klagenfurt while I went on to Villach, fed the cats, took the car and drove down to Klagenfurt again. She made it, I didn’t. When I arrived, he had been dead for half an hour.
A week and an hour ago I had my last conversation with him, a few words on the phone. It’s dizzying to think about it.
These two images were an unexpected bonus. That day I had made a trip back in time, to a place at a small river near home, where I used to swim in my childhood.
It was a small basin in the river, where it was joined by an even smaller creek. I’ve spent there countless hours, we used to play there and I can remember exactly what it looked like. Well, probably not exactly, but well enough, given that 45 years have passed.
Later, much later, a highway was built across the site. I had always assumed that the western portal of an underpass below a small village had been built where we used to swim, with the river somehow channeled below.
When I visited the site, I found that the underpass was actually 20-30 meters to the south of the former basin, but I had trouble recognizing anything at all. Once there were walls of concrete around the basin, at their highest point maybe five, six or even seven feet above the water. It’s hard to tell, because my memories are those of a little boy, but we used to jump down into the basin and make big splashes.
I found one single concrete pillar still there, seemingly sunken into the ground, and the basin was completely gone without a trace. The riverbed was shallow and almost dry, the stream having been diverted into a bypass. The small tributary was already running into the bypass, but from its straight line and the line of the old river bed I could reconstruct the location of the former basin. In my childhood the shores had been between fields. No single tree had given us shadow then. Today the whole area is at the center of a small copse.
45 years have passed and a place that I knew and loved has completely ceased to exist. I had come for images, but none were to be found.
On my way back I took a short detour across a forest, and there I found this unexpected view. Images, finally.