Saturday, 4 January 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Beyond the Pale

When was the last time you did something completely new and out of your element? How was it? Will you do it again? 

Photographers, artists, poets: show us NEW.

Bridge leading to High School, Solothurn

Just a bridge you may think, but this is not just a bridge. It was built in 1986 to connect the village of Zuchwil to the District Comprehensive School of the Swiss town of Solothurn, but it there is a story behind this work of architecture. For years the children living in the areas surrounding Solothurn had to make their way first of all to the town of Solothurn on one side of the river, cross one of the Solothurn town bridges and return along the opposite bank to arrive at their school. This took time of course.

It was then that Pope John Paul II changed things for us. Solothurn is a catholic area and when the Pope decided to pay a visit to Switzerland, featuring Solothurn it was the hit of the year. Solothurn was expecting many visitors to see the pope and Solothurn is a small market town, so we had to have another bridge. The Swiss army saved the day and built a footbridge in a few days to accommodate the masses coming to see the pope. The idea was to relieve the situation crossing the river from the station to the town for all his fans. The bridge looked OK, nothing special, just plain old wood and supports, but it served the purpose. This was in 1981.

Unfortunately it was also in 1981 that there was an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul, which made a change in his plans to travel to Switzerland and meet his followers. The papal visit was cancelled and Solothurn was left with a makeshift bridge which did not fit into the surroundings. As quick as the army built it, it was again removed. The school children were again reduced to a long journey to school along two river banks.A bridge must be built and in 1986 the bridge in the above photo was completed. For a while it was even known as the Pope’s bridge, but today carries its official name as the Schützenmatt bridge. Me being a golden oldie I remember the impact on Solothurn life at the time, but this all happening more than 30 years ago, the newer generation of school children are not so aware of historical facts. Unfortunately two stately white poplar trees had to be felled to build the bridge which caused a few mutterings in the local population. It is a foot bridge/bicycle bridge.

So that was the Solothurn history lesson of the day.

And now to me. The First time I did something new and completely out of my element? That is the story of my life. I was always good for a surprise, life would otherwise be a little boring. I never did a bungee jump or rode a horse (not even on my bucket list) although I did have one riding lesson a few years ago. I discovered that a horse is warm, it breathes, and moves not exactly according to my ideas, so after spending fifteen minutes on its back and needing at least ten minutes each way to mount it and demount it, I decided it was not my thing.

I am a lazy quiet person and not known for my movements. I do take a walk now and again, usually with my camera, and in summer tend to look after the garden. My garden is now mostly full of perennials as they grow every year with no additional backbreaking work.

My last escapade was a little more than a year ago. I belonged to a forum site and one of the members was a faithful disciple of Tai Chi. Ok, two Chinese words that brought scenes of slow movement to my mind outdoors in a park. Another member of this forum site mentioned that she had bought a DVD and since working with this DVD her movements had improved considerably. This was it, I was sure. I was not known for slow graceful movments and tend to trip over my feet now and again when walking. I organised this DVD and found, not bad. Nice soothing music and just waving your hands around slowly with all the trimmings was no big problem. This was when me decided to take a step further. I looked in the local newspaper and discovered our local rheumatic league had organised Tai Chi. I enrolled over computer and two weeks later I was standing in my nice loose clothing, track suit similar, along with a few other golden oldies doing everything in slow motion. I got hooked and stayed for a year.

The time suited me. I could have my golden oldie sleep after lunch, get ready and go. Then there was a change in the programme. Some of the co-golden oldies (we were all in that group) decided it would be a good thing to start our hour earlier. This caused me stress and I stopped. A couple of months later the lady in charge called me to say they would be having the lesson at the old time, whether I would be interested again. It seems a few of the other golden oldies had dropped out, their places being taken by younger golden oldies. I said “yes” and next week I being again according to the actions of Mr. Paul Lam, our guru, a Chinese living in Australia, but guiding us on the way to enlightenment. I am doing it again.

Did it help me? I still do not know, but Tai Chi is stress less, no rush and I have not yet broken any bones. One exercise does supply a problem: reaching forward with one arm and standing on the opposite leg whilst bending the knee. It seems this is where balance is an important factor, but I am allowed to grip a chair or other object to steady me. My body has forgotten what balance is. Where there is a will there is a way.

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  1. The last time I did something completely out of my elements was when I moved to Sweden. I did it rather impulsively rather than planning it out properly. As a result, I think I can say that in certain respects it was one of the best things I ever did, but in others it was the worst thing I ever did. But do I regret it? No, it's all part of my life's experience.

    BTW....did you miss visiting my PT entry?

    1. I entered my photos yesterday evening Mitch Am gradually getting round to visiting. Life is a bit hectic on my side at the moment, so am fitting things in in between.

    2. Sorry to hear things are hectic and stressful. I hope you and Mr Swiss are ok health-wise?