This Monday, when I intended to have a quiet day and write a chapter to my writings about Nordic Walking around Vienna’s woods and fields, I came across my lost shadow. I have not seen this mature chap, his long hair held together with a string, his warm sporting woolen cap pulled down over his ears. He felt obviously uncomfortable walking out into the last day of the old year, when people streamed toward the City’s fun-mile, littered with punch stands, fast food stalls, all kind of amusement cubicles around the famous Dome of St Steven in the heart of Vienna. I saw him shaking hands with a friend I knew from an art gallery, who always teased his friends and enjoyed the company of women. Come on, I thought, it’s the unusual artist in the company of other unusual artists, Vienna has quite many hovering around the first district’s Kohlmarkt and the few artist-cafes left.
B, my spouse, had invited me to have a drink with me at the Café de l’Opera. ‘They have your favourite tea’, she beamed. ‘Indeed?’ I was genuinely surprised. ‘Yes. Chinese Chun Mee, green tea’. ‘That’s wonderful’, I said and followed her. We found a table and settled down. There was a continual coming and going of visitors, mainly tourists, who were keen to sample the air and the fine cakes and coffees offered here. We ordered espresso for B and I ordered the green tea. As the drinks arrived, I noted that my dispenser was leaking and the silver tray was filled with the hot water quickly. The waiter summoned, seemed to be confused and hurried away, returning later with a new small pot of hot water. It spoiled my first drinking experience, but I did not mention it to B. I knew she was lately suffering from a stressed life, as we had not yet overcome the losses of our lifelong collection of wardrobes, household items, books and our CD collection of music, collectibles, inherited art & craft treasures and all our furniture, we had inherited from our second family in South Africa.
My wife phoned a friend and I took my notebook and made some notes with my ink pen. Then we exchanged our thoughts and some memories of happy years in a warmer climate in Greece, among our well-furnished apartment, where B enjoyed sun tanning on the terrace, while I had been engrossed with the painting of my ‘Apollo Frieze’.
Suddenly B stood up and walked over to a table, where a man had taken a seat. He stood up and then looked in my direction. I got up from my table and walked over to greet him. He had a warm smile and large dark eyes of an observer and I could immediately see the artist in front of me, the fashion designer and photographer, B had told me about. She had met him during the summer on the terrace of this café. We asked him to join us. Indeed, he spoke in his quiet way and with a spark in his eyes, telling anecdotes about famous people he had met during his life, but also listening to B and my own stories of people I’ve met in course of our stay in South Africa and Greece.
Well, now as I spoke to Pierre, sitting opposite me, I noticed the video clip that had played on the monitor of my mind’s eye about my shadow. Indeed, the shadow man, artist and poet, had shaken a man’s hand who had resembled him. I was amazed how easy it had been talking to a man, who worked creatively, just as I did, only on related genres, where art played a huge and important role. His creative pride, a model garment, hand painted with symbolic designs relating to Salvatore Dali, was stunning. I knew immediately that this man and I would inspire each other’s work, besides could become great friends.
Besides our well-conducted talks and sharing of interests, we had a good time together and we could have talked into the New Year’s morning, until the cows came home, if they were not frightened off by the noise of all the fireworks that went off around the country.
I am glad that my spouse has the talent meeting people in the field of fashion and art. Hopefully, we’ll have more opportunities in the New Year to meet and exchange ideas and become collocutors of each other. It’s all important to meet creative minded people, who are the Herold’s of the Arts & Crafts, the visual arts, and on top interested in shaping its future through their work.
It’s soon midnight and while Pierre works on his new photographic book, I am content writing down my thoughts, about the tragic events around building the Viennese opera, where we had such a delightful afternoon, the thoughts about a friend’s request to draw her a piece of work with a dark tree or trees, a small painting for a couple married for fifty years, my own work for a four-panel work of faces and a mixed couple. I have visualized this painting for many years wandering about in woods and fields, the heath and around the outer suburbia of Vienna, the Rund-Uma-dum-trail.
My thoughts go out to all our friends and people, who we met during the year. Remembrance to people who are no more around us, but who have passed on to another life, something we discuss. I had dialogues about life and death with my mental collocutor, Albert, who I admire as a philosopher and a great writer, and who was prepared to discuss the style of my writing. I wish them peace and love. To all the living people we know, we wish all the best and good health in the New Year 2019.