Making Easy Things Part 3

Feb 14

Hessanau is a German village of two hundred or so — a settling place for road-worn punks and DIY commies. Many have come here to set up communal homes, raise crops, chickens and families. The town is comprised of several dozen medieval stone structures that were left relatively unaffected by the two wars. These have been renovated and built-upon with found wood, tractor parts and animal bones to meet the frugal needs and revolutionary sensitivities of their current occupants. Martti and I arrived in Hessenau on our second day of travel, after our inaugural performance in Mainz. It was Sunday noon after a festival weekend. We parked on a dirt road on the slope of a high, grassy hill and were welcomed into a bunker-like structure. We were offered sandwiches, coffee and afternoon whisky.  Our host — a joviel, handlebar-mustache fiftysomething punk named Kurt — guided us to the festival grounds, explaining the history of the place in German and broken English.

Cemented to a nearby boulder was some sort of art piece incorporating a WWI cannon and a rusty military helmet decorated with welded spikes. Not far off was a complete, wired-together horse skeleton attached a Victorian-era carriage. There were many such curiosities on display along the way. Soon we walked down a short, tree-lined path to find what remained of the previous night’s festivities. There were still fifty or so revelers sitting at ramshackle picnic tables, arranged around a smoldering bonfire in a large clearning. The festival ground was encircled by antique trailers and wagons, each decorated with beautiful, rusty oddities or artfully destroyed. Those in attendance were talking contentedly and getting daydrunk.

A stage had been set up for us on the back of a weathered trailer. I enjoy performing outdoors when surrounded by hills like this. I feel like I can sing to the surrounding landscape. I performed quietly, comfortably, whimsically. These were appreciative, like-minded people, in spite of the language barrier. Talkative, but not disengaged. One woman was slowly riding a ragged old horse, looking at everyone in the eyes and enjoying everything she saw. There were grubby kids swinging in the branches of a nearby beech tree. Two dogs were fighting over a piece of slimy rope. I’d like to retire here, or be dragged here to die.