Through the Countryside & Around the Lake “With” Robert Burns

Scharmützelsee. If you’ve read or viewed this blog for a while or just a short time, you’ll probably know its my regular haunt, my beloved location and a relaxing place of fascination for me. It’s a moderately sized lake in Land Brandenburg about an hour from Berlin and usually I make a lot of photos whenever I am there, but this visit I didn’t. I  just wanted to be, to feel, to experience. I didn’t want to concentrate on visual stimulus as a recording device and memory trigger as much as I wanted to just look and let it lead me to into contemplation.

Fields by Red Haircrow
Fields by Red Haircrow

I rode a bus from Fürstenwalde through Neu Golm (though usually I go through Petersdorf) to Bad Saarow-Pieskow then around to Wendisch-Rietz and several even smaller villages in between before heading back to Bad Saarow where my friend, from so many entries here, has a home I visit and have lived at before.

Summer. It’s been filled with incredibly rainy, cool days this year in Germany. Last year was the same but at least it was warmer, so this day I hoped at least for just one or two rain showers instead of dozens or all-day, and was pleased to receive none at all even though I was mostly riding instead of my usual walking or bicycling. I was in a state of bemusement, thinking about someone I care about, puzzling my feelings of lethargy lately, and actually didn’t even end up wandering the lakeside or looking for glacial stones as I’d planned.

I paid for extra tickets and kept riding, looking out of the window at the changes of scenes but which were predominated by fields of waving grain with thick forests at their edges. One of my favorite songs by Robert Burns playing in my mind, and since I was usually on the bus alone except for the driver, sometimes I sang aloud: “Now Westlin Winds.”

“Now westlin winds and slaughtering guns
Bring autumn’s pleasant weather
The moorcock springs on whirring wings
Among the blooming heather
Now waving grain, wild o’er the plain
Delights the weary farmer
And the moon shines bright as I rove at night
To muse upon my charmer.

The partridge loves the fruitful fells
The plover loves the mountain
The woodcock haunts the lonely dells
The soaring hern the fountain
Through lofty groves the cushat roves
The path of man to shun it
The hazel bush o’erhangs the thrush
The spreading thorn the linnet.

Thus every kind their pleasure find
The savage and the tender
Some social join and leagues combine
Some solitary wander
Avaunt! Away! the cruel sway,
Tyrannic man’s dominion
The sportsman’s joy, the murdering cry
The fluttering, gory pinion.

But Peggy dear the evening’s clear
Thick flies the skimming swallow
The sky is blue, the fields in view
All fading green and yellow
Come let us stray our gladsome way
And view the charms of nature
The rustling corn, the fruited thorn
And every happy creature.

We’ll gently walk and sweetly talk
Till the silent moon shines clearly
I’ll grasp thy waist and, fondly pressed,
Swear how I love thee dearly
Not vernal showers to budding flowers
Not autumn to the farmer
So dear can be as thou to me
My fair, my lovely charmer.”

I am a long time fan of Celtic music of a variety of kinds: Scottish, Irish, Breton, Welsh, and a story of those surprised I know what I do can be found here, when I am an unexpected visitor at an Irish “green” club in Berlin, The Shannon.

Photo journals from the lakeside:

The lake itself, from Google maps:

2 thoughts on “Through the Countryside & Around the Lake “With” Robert Burns

    1. I still have a recording on cassette of Gaughan’s rendition of “Now Westlin.” It’s from the mid-80s and very much treasured. Truly a beautiful song, but I like so many sung by him! Ironically enough, I was just in the process of sharing another Burns works,”Aye waukin-o,” with a friend when I saw this message.

      Would be nice to visit The Blue Light indeed. It’s curious the really good Irish pubs you can find here in Germany also…if they let you in ;-)

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