Making Easy Things part 9

Feb 20

Martti and I returned to Hessanau on the penultimate night of our tour together — not to perform, but to rest on our way to Winterthur. We stayed at the home of a gregarious, moustached, folk-punk named Kurt. Kurt is one of the longest-standing members of the Hessenau community.  Here he builds things and helps to manage the bizarre parties that happen frequently in the village. Kurt grew up in Hessanau, and having spent years touring with various bands and on his own, returned to live in his ancestral home — a tall, narrow, stone fortress at the bottom of high, grassy hill.

Last year, torrential rains had caused a landslide on Kurt’s property. A river of mud and rocks came crashing down from above, narrowly missing his house. The slide consumed small sheds, tractors, cars and animals in its path. There is still a long trench filled with rubble that runs up the hill. There are artful signs to commemorate the incident.

Naturally, the community came together in this crisis. After the damage had been repaired — Kurt tells me in jovial, broken English — representatives from a church in a neighbouring village came by with a collection of money to be used for the already-completed repairs, or for reinforcements, or to buy food baskets for those affected. It can be difficult to find ways of being truly helpful in times of crisis. It can be difficult to gracefully decline unneeded help when it is offered.