Friday, April 16, 2010

The spell of Poland

From Frankfurt, I flew to the ancient Polish capital of Krakow. Already on the way to the city center, I was seized by the poignant beauty of the scenery as it passed by the Mercedes window. I remembered that this was my fist time to enter the Polish soil.

To be precise, on my first ever trip to U.K. I used the Polish airline LOT. The plane made a stop at Warshaw. It was well before the downfall of 1989. I remember vividly how people stood on the roof of the airport building, apparently seeing their relatives off to prosperity and freedom. At that time, there was this wall of professed ideologies between the "east" and "west". Despite that, I could only feel a sense of humaneness and warm eagerness from the Polish people waving goodbye from the balcony.
Arriving in London, I fell in love with its culture instantly, a love that lingers on to this day. Looking back, however, U.K. seemed to be rather practical and too organized compared to what impression I had in that brief encounter with the Polish people from a distance.

Poland was like that white spot in your Cafe au lait as you mixed it.

Time flew. I cam back to Poland after so many years.

In the afternoon, I was planning to visit the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. Maybe my nerves were little bit tense in anticipation, already on my way to Krakow, where I was planning to deposit my back at the Grand Hotel. In any case the soft beauty of Krakow as I approached it from the suburbs enthralled my heart. I even wished that something would happen to make a prolonged stay necessary. I would then well be in exile in Krakow, with a novel and strange pleasure in my heart. I would try to learn the unfamiliar language as a expatriate..

I visited the place of atrocity. On my way back on the car, I found myself very exhausted in body and soul.

After having supper in a restaurant called Aperitif, I returned to my hotel room, and before I knew it, I was sleeping on the bed. Probably as a result of the mixture of prior experiences, I had a strange dream. I was strolling in a calm and tranquil residential area, with nothing suspicious going on. However, a path would lead to abrupt end, where you would hang for your life on a cliff edge. Everywhere in the neighborhood, there were hidden falls, where carelessness would certainly result in the loss of your life.

I woke up in the small hours, convinced that it was already morning. I waked up my computer, to find out that a volcano has erupted in Iceland, emitting smokes which blocked number of airports in Europe.

I was planning to fly back to Tokyo via Munich. At the moment, only the northern airports in Germany was affected. But with the conditions of wind and the magma under ground, one never knows.

Maybe I am under the spell of Poland. My plane might not make it this morning. In that case, I might be bound in this beautiful city of Krakow. Nothing is certain at the moment. Maybe I might be able to fly after all, to fulfill the tight schedule of appointments back in Japan.

I thus find myself in a hung uncertainty this evening. I am still under the spell of Poland.


(ma)gog said...

It is a coincidence that in one of the essays by Shusaku Endo which I read the day before yesterday, he described his visit to Auschwitz and his deep reflection over the humanity.

Although I didn't want to let my daughter to visit Auschwitz last year, she went in the end, towards the end of February when "Arbeit macht frei" over the gate was under the frozen stillness of the gray sky.

Please have a rest, and have a safe flight back to Tokyo.

Petrusa de Koker said...

I have only seen Krakow in pictures, but it seems like a magical place indeed. We also received the news of the volcano erruption's influence on the Europian airspace and all the flight-schedules that have been impacted. So, did your plain leave on time then?

yuzu said...

Your mind and hart have irrigate in remarkable places.
These will age in you and radiate light.
Thank you for sweetly pictures.
How is your pair of shoes.

Anonymous said...

Mogi sensei, thank you for your very beautiful and great photos.

but .. it seems that you are a little too busy; maybe like an around-the-clock businessman ..

Please take care of yourself.

TED said...

When I saw the word, Poland, it reminded me of a sudden death of the President of the Republic of Poland Leck Kaczynski, his wife Maria Kaczynska and other members of the Polish official delegation. They were killed in a plane crash near the city of Smolenska, Russia on April 10. They were on their way to the commemorations of the
70th anniversary of the Katyn Crime. I have been wondering the cause of this tradegy for a few days. A newspaper article which I happened to see the other day offered me a clue to solve why this accident took place. It is an article (Cruelty of chance deals Poland another blow, The Japan Times, April 16,2010)written by Nina Khrushcheva. The air-traffic controller of Russian airport advised the pilot of the Polish airplane which the President got on boared not to land at the airport because the fog was so thick around the airport in Russia. However, the pilot did not accept his advice. Khrushcheva says this is a cause of the accident. What he tries to say is that history is to blame. According to his opinion, traditionary people in Poland do not accept what people in Russia have to say. His main point is that the centuries of mistrust between Poland and Russia must be seriously taken into consideration. The main reason is that Poland did not obey the idea and ideology delivered by the Authorities of Russia during the time of joseph Stalin. Therefore he tried to kill political leaders and his aids of Poland who opposed to his policy. The Katyn massacre was a direct result ordered by him. And after Hitlers defeat, Poland became part of the Russian sphere. Poland always tried to build a nation which is not controlled and frightened by Russia. History tells us that throughout the 20th century animosity between Poland and Russia remained at fever pitch, manifested not only in politics but also culturally.(Khrushcheva)
I think that the horror and the feeling of suspicion toward Russia lie deeply in the heart among many people in Poland even today. British historian, E.H.Carr says that history is a dialog between past and present. With the emergence of interconnected world we must recognize the importance of studying history from the viewpoint of international relations and global politics.