‘Starry, starry night’, the words pop up in my head. The night sky twinkles with a million stars. It reminds me of the nights before words like ‘light pollution’, became a problem. Light pollution, is not a problem here and it shows in the skies. “Big jump” Lakshmi shouts as she prompts us to give her a sweeping lift holding her hands as we make our way back to the hotel.
I thought I wouldn’t have much to write about. After all this is my fifth or sixth trip here, I’ve lost count. The weather forecast for Schliersee for this week was quite dismal but as our trip drew nearer, it changed and we have glorious sunshine.
I get up just before dawn. It is always best to do the lake walks around sunrise or sunset. There is hardly anybody around. BOB does his usual hoots as it nears the level crossing. The church bells chime the hours. The early morning mist hugs the fields. The rising mist from the lake gives the impression that it is steaming. Purple, pink and white Himalayan balsam line the rail tracks and paths. Couple of men are baiting their fishing rods before settling down. The birds are chirping and chatting with each other. The cows grazing in the distance make music with their bells and it sounds like temple bells in harmony. Unlike the rest of Europe, the grass here looks lush and green and the cows are having a merry time. In a couple of weeks, the farmers will decorate the cattle and bring them ceremoniously down from the hills back to their farms. This marks the end of their summer.
Three crows caw and I remember our childhood rhyme, ‘one for sorrow, two for joy’. It was written for magpies, but in India it was adapted for black crows, and the girls changed the words from ‘three for girl’ to ‘three for letter’. I wonder if the boys ever knew the words and secretly looked for three black crows together. The ducks are swimming in twos, threes and foursomes. Occasionally one breaks away and goes for a longer swim on its own. They look healthy unlike our own ones back home, as they forage their own food and fend for themselves. One, I notice, has caught a small fish and swims away with it in between its beak.
I take Lakshmi to the lake. She wants to wade in it. We are not prepared. We take our shoes off, pull our sleeves and trousers up and tentatively walk over the pebbles and dip our feet. The water is cool but inviting. Soon Lakshmi’s leggings are soaking wet and she splashes water over me. The ducks swim around us. She enjoys her time in the lake. I sit on a dry rock as Lakshmi plays around me in the water.
Her parents and granddad join us with her baby sister. We dry ourselves in the sun’s heat and join them.