Posting for Silent Sunday:
Self is committed to making her front door as inaccessible as possible, lol. Hence, she packed her front porch with distractions.
Posting for the Weekend Challenge hosted by Weekly Prompts.
This is another fun photo challenge. Thank you for hosting, XingfuMama!
Self spent last weekend in beautiful Mendocino. That place is so beautiful, it always revives her spirit.
She dropped by the Mendocino Coast Botanic Garden, where she saw this fabulous driftwood bench. She wishes she could get something similar for her garden!
Still nursing the other potted roses in my backyard — my neighbor, who I pay to water when I’m gone, couldn’t get around to it because he threw his back. He was very apologetic, but last summer’s stars, Moonlight Romantica and All Dressed Up, are currently still in recovery.
This one rose, though, that I’ve had forever, maybe for 20 years, is suddenly throwing out blooms like nobody’s business.
Take a bow, Winsome!
Posting for Cee’s Flower of the Day:
This is the first time I’ve read anything by Ernst Junger — I mourn because surprise is so much part of the pleasure I’m deriving in reading him. Alas, you can’t discover a great author twice.
I’ll always remember what I was doing when I first picked up Storm of Steel — the time of year (late spring), the weather (hot). Anyhoo, absolutely taken aback by Junger’s nonchalance and insouciance, mouth dropping open practically every page, here he is in Flanders field (again)
The total absence of self-pity (“Our army is losing! There’s a good chance I might die here!”) is remarkable:
Fall, 1917, Flanders field:
The morning hours of 26 October were filled by drumfire of unusual severity. Our artillery too redoubled in fury on seeing the signals for a barrage that were sent up from the front. Every little piece of wood and every hedge was home to a gun, whose half-deaf gunners did their business.— Storm of Steel, p. 197
At eleven o’clock on October 26, Junger is ordered to the front with four men. As he nears the command dugout, “we came under aimed machine-gun fire, a sure sign that the enemy must have forced our line back.”
At this point, dear blog readers must be asking themselves, Is self ever going to finish this book? It’s taking her aaaages!
The Germans, it turns out, are not all spit-and-polish. One of the commendable aspects of this book is that Junger documents many instances of friendly fire. He describes these incidents with an “oh well, that’s war” detachment, with the result that the reader places absolute trust in his voice.
- One enthusiast threw in a smoke stick, making any further attack on the place impossible. (Oh, the irony! The platoon was supposed to be providing Junger and a hand-picked few diversionary “covering fire” so that they could take advantage of the enemies’ distraction to advance)
- “Of the fourteen who had set out, only four returned . . . “
- Kienitz had “taken some losses . . . from our own artillery fire.”
Lieutenant Ernst Junger is wounded again. This time he has to wait in a crater for 13 hours, drinking rainwater from his helmet, before help comes.
He’s wrapped in a tarpaulin, a tree sapling is slid through the loops, and two orderlies prepare to carry him to the rear. But they have to dodge shells, zigging and zagging, and once, painfully, they drop him.
Unexpectedly, Junger learns that one of his brothers, Fritz, the one “dearest to my heart”, had taken part in the first wave of attacks against the British line, and was reported missing: “a feeling of appalling, irreplaceable loss opened up in front of me.”
“Then in walked a soldier, who told me that my brother was lying wounded in a nearby shelter.” Junger runs over, and finds his brother gravely wounded: a shrapnel ball “had penetrated his lung, the other shattered his right shoulder . . . We squeezed each other’s hands, and said what had to be said.”
After he himself is wounded, Junger is taken to a hut being used as a field dressing station. “Suddenly, bespattered with mud from his boots to his helmet, a young officer burst in. It was my brother Ernst . . . ” (The author is also Ernst. It’s probably a typo: you can’t have two brothers from the same family sharing the same name, surely?)
They have the briefest of reunions. Ernst is carried back of the line, and there, he slips in and out of delirium. A couple of officers he doesn’t know are in the room, drinking wine “out of tin cups and whispering among themselves.”
The chapter ends with this paragraph:
Mortally tired as I was, a feeling of happiness now sneaked in that grew stronger and stronger, and which stayed with me throughout the ensuing weeks. I thought of death, and the thought did not disturb me. Everything within me and around me seemed stunningly simple, and, with the feeling “You’re all right,” I slid my way into sleep.— Storm of Steel, p. 179
What a tremendous act of will to write like this in the midst of the chaos that was Langemarck! Junger must have had extraordinary powers of concentration.
Sentence of the Day (Storm of Steel, p. 173):
- On a rain-slicked pasture, over which the milk-white balls of a few shrapnel hung like clouds, the rest of the regiment came together.
No need for explanation of the excerpt. Junger’s language is so vivid, especially here:
The hour was at hand. We had to defend the Rattenburg, and I told the men, some of whom looked troubled, that we were not about to run away . . . I picked up a rifle and hung a belt of cartridges around my neck.
As our band was very small, I tried to bolster it from the numbers of those who were drifting around leaderless. Most of them heard our appeal willingly enough . . . while others hurried on their way, having stopped in disbelief and seen what poor prospects we offered. It was no time for niceties. I ordered my men to aim at them . . . they slowly came nearer, even though we could see from their expressions that they were most reluctant to keep us company. There were various excuses, prevarications . . .
“But I don’t even have a gun!”
“Then wait till someone gets shot, and use his!”— Storm of Steel, pp. 167 – 168
Posting for Hugh’s Views & News‘ Wordless Wednesday Challenge.