“That wouldn’t be conclusive either.”

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Well, last night we all made it back home from Veszprém! It was much more than a trip to a festival, though that in itself would have been full and exciting enough. It was an adventure of several dimensions, and a great experience in pulling through together, finding the fun in things, solving problems as they came up. For example, in our extremely tight connection at the Kőbánya-Kispest station, we had two temporary mishaps: on the way to Veszprém, we got separated, so that two students and a parent (the one other adult besides me on the trip) ended up coming on the next train. (But the festival started a little late, so we were all there for the beginning.) On the way back, we were especially concerned about this connection, and in the rush we asked a conductor for the correct track number. He pointed us to the wrong track, and we boarded the wrong train–and didn’t realize this until we had passed Cegléd and a student noticed that we were not passing through the expected towns. We got off the train in Kecskemét, about an hour’s drive from Szolnok. I was dismayed; in my mind, the end of the trip would occur when I saw everyone safely back to Szolnok, and now people were calling parents, coordinating rides… But parents pitched in, and everyone got home. While we waited in Kecskemét, in a park by the station, with some festival going on nearby and warm spring in the air, the students thrilled in the adventure of it all, took a polaroid photo, and Piri, the parent who had gone with me, treated us all to fries. I kept track of who was going home with whom, waited until all rides had arrived or departed, and asked everyone to let me know when they were actually back home. Later in the evening, when the many messages came in and I saw that everyone had made it, I lost all remnant worries but resolved that I would never attempt such a tight train connection with a large group again. Either take a bus, or allow for more time between trains. But everything turned out well. A parent kindly gave me a ride too, along with two students. On the way back, we talked about all kinds of things and looked out at the sunset over the fields.

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What a grand few days! The slight mishaps may have been some of the best parts. On stage, Vargang pulled off a beautiful performance, full of vim and character. They handled the slight mistakes with aplomb, covering for each other and keeping the rhythm. The audience and evaluators loved them. We had many other performances to enjoy too, as audience members; a few of the plays, such as The Danube by María Irene Fornés, performed by a group from the University of Debrecen, have stayed on my mind, and I hope to read and see them again. Then there were the meals, the walks up and down Veszprém’s hilly roads, the laughter, the hundreds of photos, the goodwill, the ways in which each person helped out. In a few days we will receive our certificates (which got misplaced before the closing ceremony), some professional photos, and a video of our performance. But no matter how many mementos we receive, we will remember the trip in our own ways (“separately or together, it all depends”). And no telling of the story will be final.

P.S. There are far too many people to thank, but here are just a few of the people who made this entire project possible: Piri Márton (Madda’s mother, who came with us on the trip and helped in countless ways), Judit Kéri, Zsuzsanna Kovácsné Boross, Kata Bajnai, all the parents, the American Corner Veszprém (and U.S. Embassy Budapest), all the drama troupes, the hospitable people in Veszprém, László Molnár, all the parents, Eugène Ionesco and his estate, Ilona Berkicsné Németh, everyone at the Varga porta, and anyone I have forgotten to mention. Thank you all so much!

Were our mouths filled with song as the sea….

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In all the world’s stress, danger, and fear, it is easy to lose sight of the extraordinary beauty in our lives: the things that rise up, against all expectation or dread, and show us a different way of perceiving and living. When I came to Szolnok at the end of October 2017, on my very first day, I walked to the synagogue (and also got a bike across the street). I knew that it was now a gallery; what I didn’t know was that there were people in Szolnok who treasured its history and worked to keep its heritage alive. Nor did I know that one day I would attend an event devoted to the synagogue’s history, and then, a few days later, hold an event there devoted to the sounds of Shabbat.

But yes, these things happened and are about to happen: On Sunday I attended a day-long event commemorating the synagogue’s 120th anniversary. The hall was packed; a warm and eager audience listened to speeches, presentations, and music (a chamber group from the Szolnok Symphony, and later a klezmer band, whose singer, Judit Klein, began with a solo rendition of “Szól a kakas már“).

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The day was marked with festive and joyous moments: a champagne toast, a delicious kosher lunch, and a special visit to the little synagogue a few meters away, next to the Tisza Mozi movie theatre. (Szolnok once had three synagogues: these two and a third one where a memorial now stands.)

I was left with a desire to hear more: in particular, I hope to hear the rabbi and scholar Alfréd Schöner speak again.

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Tomorrow evening I return to the synagogue, this time to lead an event. I will teach three “songs”–that is, one piyut, one psalm, and one zemer–that have a profound role in Shabbat: “Lecha Dodi,” Psalm 150, and “Eliyahu Hanavi.” The first two I will teach with more than one melody (three for the first and two for the second). I hope that this, too, will be a beginning–but of what, I do not yet know.

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The title of this blog post is a quotation from the Nishmat.

Oh, a Rhinoceros!

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In just nine days we (seventeen students, a parent, and I) leave for Veszprém. We will spend three days there as participants in the National English Language Drama Festival; the students will perform Eugène Ionesco‘s Rhinoceros and their own (completely unrelated) Rhinocerosn’t. Here’s a short clip of a recent Rhinoceros rehearsal.

 

We have three rehearsals (including one twelve-hour one) and an in-house performance before we go; the twelve-hour rehearsal will include a session with guest director Kata Bajnai, author of Farkasok.

The in-house performance will take place on Wednesday, May 22, at 3:30; it will be a dress rehearsal, but with an audience.

The festival itself will be chock full of performances and workshops; it doesn’t get a whole lot more nonstop than that. Much like the rhinoceros itself! (Unless the latter is plural, in which case, “rhinoceroses” and “themselves.”)

I made some edits to this piece after posting it. The video is posted and shared with the students’ permission.

Reading, Concert, Translations

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The weekend so far was filled with good things. I led services at Szim Salom, attended “Esőnap,” a literary event in Budapest hosted by Eső and the Mersz Klub (pictured above), and returned to Szolnok in time to hear Marcell Bajnai play a solo concert on an outdoor stage at Kossuth tér, as part of Európa-nap.* I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of these events and was glad to be able to attend them all. At the literary event, I listened to the readings, enjoyed the atmosphere (the Mersz Klub is a great place to spend an evening), met a few people afterward, and later remembered a few titles of works for immediate and future reading. As for the concert, wow. Some of the songs I knew from 1LIFE’s CD–a few favorites were among them–but here they opened up in a new way (“Nincsen kérdés” in particular). Other songs were new to me: some of Marcell’s songs and two (?) covers. A rich selection and terrific show. We in the audience were fortunate.

Now for a slower and slightly lazy day of preparations, practicing, writing. Speaking of writing, I have some exciting news about a translation project–but I’ll say more about that a little closer to the first publication date (in June). A few translations of poetry and prose–my first translations from Hungarian–will soon be published in a literary journal, in two different issues, in June and September. Continuations of this project, as well as new projects, lie ahead.

*”Nap” in Hungarian means “day” (as well as “sun”); there was no napping involved.

I renamed this post from the humdrum though apt title A Good Weekend. Also, I later embedded a video from the concert.

What Lies Ahead?

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What lies ahead? A question as old as humanity, as far as I know. To find answers, we (people across the ages) have consulted oracles, sacred texts, almanacs, sages, 8-balls, tea leaves, wrinkles in the palm of the hand, weather reports, inklings, and animals, while reminding ourselves vigorously that we cannot know the future. But to a great extent we do know it; that is, I know that graduating students at Varga will be taking English exams today–best wishes to everyone!–and that at 10:30 a.m. I will have an appointment at the immigration office for renewal of my residence permit. Granted, an extreme circumstance could change either of these events, but I can trust, more or less, that they will happen.

Then what? Students will know, more or less, how well they did, but they will have to wait for the official results, which, combined with the results on their other exams, will determine which universities and programs they can attend. As for me, I am confident that my residence permit will be successfully renewed; once I submit all the needed information, I will just have to wait for the card to arrive in the mail.

That is where the predictability ends. Well, not quite. Those heading on to university have a vague sense of the coming year: where they will live (if they are admitted to the schools they hope to attend), what kinds of classes they will take, and so on. Those in the ninth, tenth, eleventh grades have an even more precise idea of the year to come. So do I; I know that I will continue teaching English at Varga, and I suspect that I will be involved with literature, drama, and music as well. I know when and where I will travel, at least in the fall. Speaking of literature, some exciting things are unfolding, about which I will say more in the coming weeks.

But within those outlines, the unexpected plays its heart out. A lesson leads to a project; a work of literature opens up; a friendship forms. Disappointments, mistakes, and losses have their say. Perspectives and urgencies change.  Something you thought you couldn’t live without turns out to be the very thing you have to give up; something that seemed remote or unthinkable sallies into your life. This is what makes individual lives so interesting: that each one has its particular mix of patterns, surprises, and creations.

Then there are larger shifts–changes within a country or region, changes in the world–that affect thousands or millions at once and continue to show their effects over the generations. Everyone’s life is affected by history, but some more than others; for some, historical forces have determined what they could or could not do. This is one thing that I will come to understand more about Hungary: how history has shaped the lives of the people around me. The other day I finished reading the story “A régi kazetta” (“The old cassette”)–a bit more difficult for me than the previous two–in Zsolt Bajnai’s collection Visszaköszönés. A girl discovers a cassette in her home and wants to know what it is. Her mother puts it in the tape player and plays it; it turns out to be an interview that the mother conducted with her own grandmother, the girl’s great-grandmother, during the two days that they spent together, the only time they met in their lives, while the mother (who had grown up in the United States) was an exchange student in Hungary. The grandmother tells of her bitter life–two unhappy and lonely marriages, World War II, the Soviet occupation, a deserter son (the mother’s father), and the lack or absolute narrowness of choice. Her grief is so intense that during the interview, the mother asks her grandmother several times whether she would like to talk about something else. But the conversation continues. I do not want to give spoilers here or misrepresent the story–there may be details that I didn’t understand correctly–so I will leave it at that. But the story reminded me how much there is to learn about this country.

People ask me what my plans for the future are. For now, I intend to stay here. I am placing no time limit on it, because I would like to become fluent in Hungarian, and that will take a while. I feel at home–in a particular sense of the phrase–in Szolnok, at Varga, and at my synagogue in Budapest, and I have much to do here, over time. Toward that end, I have an errand to accomplish and must end this post now. More on home, and a sense of home, another time.

I made a few edits to this piece after posting it. I took the photo yesterday on my way home.

Graduation, Giving, and Form

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For a high school teacher, graduations happen year after year. But a few stand out; you know, then and later, that they will bring something out of your life and work. This was one. Last week, on Monday and Tuesday, three different classes serenaded me before their last class with me, according to tradition. For some students, this ritual may feel awkward, but they take part in it anyway, knowing that it has meaning. For me, it was one of the most moving events (a threefold event, in fact) in all my years of teaching and beyond. Being sung to, being recognized through song, for those few minutes, does not go away when the songs are over.

Then, in the evening serenade on Tuesday, the teachers sang to the students and vice versa. The school’s drama teacher, the homeroom teacher for class 12A, sang a Transylvanian folk song to her students (with a stunning voice); as she sang, she walked around from student to student, with dance in her step, singing directly to them and looking into their eyes. When I spoke with her afterward, she said she would teach me the song.

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On Thursday we had the school ballagás (farewell ceremony, similar to graduation in the U.S. except that it precedes the final examinations), with singing processions, speeches, and awards–flowers upon flowers, song upon song. First the senior classes walked hand in hand, singing, through the hallways, visiting one classroom after another; then we all went outside into the courtyard.

Yesterday was the citywide ballagás; we weren’t sure whether we would get to have it outdoors, since the weather seemed in between this and that. In the case of rain, we were to listen to the event through loudspeakers at school. But when we arrived around 8:30 in the morning, the sky was showing good restraint. Except for a few drops, it held back throughout the entire ceremony: the speeches, the performances, the procession through the heart of Szolnok, and the release of the balloons.

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Before the ceremony began, parents and relatives greeted their children with flowers, kisses, and photos. Then Marcell Jankó (the MC–and the bassist of 1LIFE) announced the beginning of the ceremony and introduced each speaker and performer. There were three speeches–Gábor Medvegy’s 11th grade farewell speech, Marcell Bajnai’s 12th grade farewell speech, and an Headmaster László Molnár’s address; a poetry recitation by Frida Hajnal; and a flute performance by a student whom I have heard many times but whose name I do not know. In his speech, Marcell Bajnai asked, “Mit adhatok?” (“What can I give?”) This question set the tone of the ceremony and filled the day. I was asking myself a similar question, a question of many years, in a different way; I will get to that later.

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Then came the procession through the city: the seniors in the middle of the street, with two cordons of students from the ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade, walking hand in hand, on either side of them. On the flanks (the sidewalks), parents, relatives, teachers, and friends pressed along. It was crowded; toes got stepped on, and mud occasionally got stepped into. But that was part of the meaning of it all: walking together, for that short stretch, before going our different ways.

 

 

 

Soon we approached the bridge but did not cross it. (There is no symbolic significance in that; our itinerary took us leftward.) The crowd seemed more crowded; the graduates, more graduated.

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Then came the releasing of the balloons.
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Graduations happen all over the world, year after year, and with all their differences and details, they share a similar form. Given the repetition and multitude, what makes each one beat out its beauty? Why the crowds, the waving hands, the swells of emotion?

In a way, the answer is easy; it’s a rite of passage, and rites of passage matter, no matter how many millions of times they take place. For the families, this is a momentous occasion: seeing their children, siblings, grandchildren, step out into adulthood, into the next stage of their lives. For the teachers, too, there is a kind of family joy; most of the teachers at Varga are parents themselves (or soon to become parents), and so they are not only seeing their students off, but remembering, anticipating, or sometimes directly experiencing their own children’s graduation.

In the past I felt somewhat peripheral and extraneous at graduations, because I have no children and will not be able to have any at this point. I was happy, overwhelmingly happy, for my students but felt a little like an uninvited guest. Over the past year or more, I have come to know things differently. True, I wanted children but do not have any; the reasons and causes are complex and cannot be traced to one particular thing. (Those who say “you can always adopt” are mistaken; there’s no “always” here. Time really does run out, and adoption is no simple matter.) But I have something to give just as I am; I am not a perfect teacher, but I have given something to my students, and they have given something to me too. Moreover, I can give things that no one else could give in the same way, just as others have their own ways of giving.

I was fully part of the graduation ceremonies this week–not in the way that parents, or teachers with children, were part of it, but in a real way nonetheless. I cheered, sang, walked along, felt awe, bumped into people, congratulated people, met parents, and walked home along the river when it was over.

Understanding this, I see that the act of giving has a form, which resembles release. When you give something, you let it be no longer yours; you don’t cling onto it or stamp it into the ground. The recipients may then take it as they wish. For instance, the best advice is given without insistence; the person giving the advice does not try to control the outcome. Everyone has a different form of giving, but the forms have this release in common. I have been thinking and thinking about Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “The Fish,” which ends (please read the whole thing),

Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels—until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.

It takes time to find one’s form of giving, and the finding isn’t final; sometimes the form comes undone or gets dislodged. But once it’s found, the giving does its work, seemingly without end. How do you go about finding your form? For some it is easier than for others; parts of it I learned early, and parts have taken all my life so far. I think it has to do with participating in the common forms and all they hold, walking along for that short stretch, again and again. That, and taking your own way, daring to differ, and learning from the bravery of others. Yes, and knowing how to let things and people go.

My best wishes to the graduating class–and thanks to everyone for these beautiful days.

 

Photo credits: I took all the pictures except for the second one, which appears courtesy of the Varga Katalin Gimnázium website.

I made a few minor edits to this piece after posting it.

On Imperfection

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When saying goodbye to my senior classes, I talked with them about the imperfection of the year (and, for two of my classes, two years). We had not had a sparkling procession of perfect lessons; some had gone better than others, for all sorts of reasons. But the imperfections, especially my own, helped me understand the students and the subject better. An imperfection is an incongruity between some ideal and reality; sometimes the ideal is clear in my mind, sometimes not, but I know that I (or the situation) did not match up to it. So I ask myself, what went wrong, if anything? Sometimes nothing went wrong; the ideal itself was at fault. But if something did go wrong, I try to understand why. Usually it’s that I expected one thing from the lesson, and the students expected or needed something else. The phrase “the students” is a faulty generalization, though; rarely do all students respond in the same way. The differences help me see what is going on.

I think of a recent tenth-grade lesson. We meet twice a week and have been alternating between Hamlet and activities such as debates. For this lesson, I had chosen a debate topic often found in textbooks and exam practice workbooks: “Mobile phones should be banned from schools.” Some students made eloquent arguments and seemed fully involved in the imagined controversy–but I saw a few problems. First, I had not framed the topic especially well. What does it mean to ban mobile phones from schools? Can they be used in emergencies? Second, I saw that a few students appeared dissatisfied with the debate. I spoke with them afterward; they told me that the topic did not interest them. One student simply didn’t like it; others found it trivial, since they do not see cell phone use as a big problem at the school.

So I remembered the importance of choosing and defining a topic carefully, together with the class. Not everyone has to like it, but we can figure out what it is and discuss the reasons for debating it.

Imperfections do more than help me see how to improve a lesson. We have limited time together (at school and in general), and it goes by faster than I think it will. When the end comes, it isn’t all wrapped up and tidy. The ceremonies bring grace to things, but there is always this or that unfinished matter, a goodbye unsaid, a missed appointment, something that didn’t get done. This year I understood that this unfinishedness had a place too: that, first of all, it gives us the impetus to keep trying for better, in whatever form or way we do, and second, it can give us some generosity. We don’t expect others to be signed and sealed, since we ourselves are not.

I don’t mean that I or anyone else should stop striving to perform beautifully, make lasting things, fulfill responsibilities, or reach goals. That is where the imperfections come from; without the striving, there wouldn’t be imperfection, just mediocrity at best. But imperfection, besides being here to stay, allows us a glimpse of each other, ourselves, and the things we have set out to do.

Along these lines, I wrote a graduation sonnet today (except for the last line, completed on May 2). It is dedicated to everyone graduating from the Varga Katalin Gimnázium this year. At one point it  slight echoes Yeats’s “Sailing to Byzantium.”

Graduation Sonnet

Now that we have a cloudy day of rest
between the serenade and ballagás,
the year and all its windings come untressed,
like threads unweaving from an heirloom sash.
So tight our warp and woof: we stretch and strive
for tapestry, for colored silken scenes,
but when our longed-for patterns come alive,
they uncombine; the end unties the means.
There starts the joy: for what else can you do
but sing and sing again, and fuller sing,
as time runs thin? The music weaves anew
but without claim; air made of everything,
it gives back all we thought was gone, and more,
and leaves the leaving richer than before.

I took this picture yesterday on my way home after the evening serenade at school.

Thanks to my friend Joyce Mandell for inspiring this post.

“Pici koncert” highlights

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The long-awaited “pici koncert“* took place this morning. (“Long-awaited” in this case means “anticipated for two weeks.”) Many students and teachers gathered to listen, out in the hallway, during the long break between the second and third periods. We sang three songs in three languages: “Позови меня” by Любэ, “Maradok ember” by 1LIFE, and “Champs-Elysées” by Joe Dassin. Here is a video of the highlights. (Please note that it is unlisted: that is, viewable only by those who have the link.)

 

Afterwards I was delighted with the concert but disappointed that I hadn’t done better with “Maradok ember” (one of my favorite songs in the world). Its lyrics are by Marcell Bajnai, the lead singer, guitarist, and lyricist of 1LIFE; I hope to read and hear much more of his work over the coming decades. I had wanted to play it perfectly but instead said two words wrong, didn’t pronounce things well overall, didn’t play quite in tune, hit a couple of dud notes, and went a little too fast. “Jaj, emberiség!” (as opposed to “jaj, istenem!”). But later I saw things more clearly: we had set out to do our best and have fun, and we accomplished both. The atmosphere in the hall was upbeat: people listened and applauded heartily. Thanks to everyone who took part–performers, composers, and audience! Thanks also to the 9.AJTP class, whose “pici koncert” earlier in the month inspired this one. And thanks to my colleagues Judit Kéri and Nóra Csiffáryné Fegecs, who taught the songs to their students and helped bring all of this about, and my colleague Anikó Bánhegyesi, who recorded the video.

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*“Pici” in Hungarian means “tiny.” The concert, like the previous one, was called a “pici koncert a nagy szünetben,” that is, a “tiny concert in the big break.” The “big break” is the fifteen-minute break between the second and third periods.

After posting this piece, I re-edited and re-uploaded the video; the new version (embedded here) fades in and out of each segment.

Thank You

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Thanks to everyone who made this a day of songs, good wishes, gifts, help, cheer, and love! I will catch up with the messages in Messenger soon (maybe not tonight), but wanted to report that this has been a happy day indeed. Three of my classes surprised me by singing to me–and they really surprised me, since each class did it in a different way. (True, the last class looked a bit mischievous at the start of the lesson, but that didn’t seem unusual until they burst into song.) A colleague gave me chocolate; another wished me happy birthday in the hallway. Gifts and messages streamed in from family and friends. And then, to top it all off (so to speak), my colleague Nándi helped me get to a dentist quickly. A crown fell off my tooth yesterday, and I dreaded some grievous labyrinthine procedure. But I called the dentist Nándi had recommended (his aunt), made an appointment for this evening, and learned from her that the tooth and crown were both fine and just needed to be reglued together, which she did on the spot. The tooth feels even better than before the mishap; the crown is better situated, like a stable duchy. I would be feeling royal, except for a slight cold and too much to do before tomorrow.

I took the photo in the village of Pácin (I think), during my bike trip. I didn’t realize until afterward that there was a dove flying overhead. It looks like some sort of Photoshop trick, but it isn’t; the bird was there, flying above the ice cream sign, though I didn’t know it at the time.

That is all for tonight. Thank you for the wonderful birthday.

Update: My birthday celebration continued at Szim Salom on Shabbat; I received good wishes, flowers, chocolate, and a delightful (and well-metered) character poem written by János Csonka. Thanks to everyone for the honor and cheer.

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“A legtöbb szünet után mindig jön egy új hang”

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Two days after a terrific Passover seder in Budapest, I was on the train to Kisvárda, my starting point for a three-day bike trip. I read the first two stories in Zsolt Bajnai’s Visszaköszönés. I was taken by the quote at the end of “Dobtoló,” “A legtöbb szünet után mindig jön egy új hang” (“After most breaks a new sound always comes”), because it’s both poignant and funny, with the mixture of “legtöbb” (“most”) and “mindig” (“always”).

As it happened, the previous day I had been trying to make practice recordings of two of the three songs that we (two language classes, two colleagues, and I) will be performing in a short concert at school on Monday. Each time I began recording, or sometimes a few minutes in, I made a mistake. The two songs were too freshly learned and figured out; they needed time to sink in. After about four hours of attempted recording, I realized a rest would be good. And sure enough, when I came back from the bike trip, I recorded them both in a few minutes–not perfectly, but much better than before. I will say more about the concert after it happens!pici koncert 2

The story “Dobtoló” is not about rest, though, at least not obviously; it’s about a boy by that nickname, who is the soul of the band even though he does not play an instrument. He had such a strong sense of rhythm that his two legs seemed like a metronome. You grow fond of him over the course of the pages, but you also realize that people didn’t know much about him, that they just accepted his presence. He was the one who remembered the others’ birthdays; they didn’t remember his. In that sense, the story is about rest, or rather, death: all the things that come together in the memory after a person is gone.

Something about the story (and the previous one too) brought back dim memories of Simon Carmiggelt, whose stories I heard at age ten, when we were living in Holland. I think my father read some of the stories aloud; others we listened to on tape. They leave you wanting to hear or read more stories and tell stories too.

To call the bike trip great would be an understatement, but I gather that understatement can build character, so I will go ahead and call it great. The things that stand out, though, are not the magnificent views, not the downhill slope into Slovakia, not even the pond at sunset–

 

 

–but the slow familiarity with the area (this being my third bike trip there in two years), the recognition of roads, buildings, and farms, the sounds of farm animals in the morning and evening, the kitten I befriended, the thoughts that came and went, the various yet few conversations. All of that, and a turning point on Monday, the day I biked to Kassa (Košice), as I did last year. I had had a somewhat late start, and was tempted not to bike there at all, but instead to spend the day in Sátoraljaújhely and the environs. But then I got on the bike path, and within minutes I was up in the hills. Not only did it seem silly to turn back, but I figured that if I could get to Kassa in three and a half hours (which I did), I would be able to catch the 4:06 train back to Sátoraljaújhely, bicycle back to Vajdácska, and arrive at the guesthouse in time for dinner. The timing all worked out, and dinner was worth every rotation of the pedals.

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There was much more to the trip, in terms of sights and thoughts, but part of the treat is keeping some of it to myself, or maybe holding it for later. One does not have to say everything about everything right away. In most trees there is always a story waiting for its time.

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