And Gutenberg Lived Here: A Bestiary of Easter Animals.

The following is an A-Z Bestiary

of the kind of Animals one sees in Germany,

from zoos,

to in the wilderness,

to in the tourist areas,

over Easter.

Hope you enjoy.

A shrewdness of apes,

A sounder of boars,

A pounce of cats,

Our week here in Gutenberg land has been busy plus.

Easter is the time of year when pastors, church custodians,

and choir directors,

get panicked calls about what they absolutely have to do for Easter,

usually from people who haven’t been in a church long enough to know

what is going on at the moment.

But Christmas and Easter,

Alpha and omega,

plus weddings and funerals,

are the basis of what keeps a church going,

or at least most people coming,


At Easter,

The pastor,

the custodian,

(I will be forever grateful to ours for all his patience and kindness)

and the choir director,

do what has to be done,

enjoy the thrill of the rightness of it all,

then go home to a good dinner,


collapse for a couple of days.

Hopefully in a different town.

A paddling of ducks,

A convocation of Eagles,

A business of Falcons,

Which was why Harold and I decided to head out for his home-

small town in the Hunsrück mountains

with a long tradition of take it easy,

huge barbecued steaks,

(today tofu and jackfruit is everywhere on the grills

for the younger,

and the vegetarians,

which everyone thinks is crazy,

but goes along with,

primarily because this area lives from tourists.)

A rasp of guinea fowl,

A bloat of hippopotamuses


A herd of ibex

Life in the Hunsrück has always been hard.

The main crops are hardy

like potatoes

and cabbage.

The people learned early to use what they had-

agates to make pilgrim jewelry for the Catholic church

(pilgrims to places like Turin)

became, when the agates ran out,


from places like Brazil,

where the locals, in return,

learned to barbecue huge steaks.

And the gemstone have now,

at least partially,

been replaced by diamonds.

Cut in intricate shapes,

cutter huddled, seated, bent over a wheel,

for hours and hours.

This makes the people kind,



with a love of anything strong-

like take your head off coffee,

and huge cream cakes,

and with a HUGE need to hike,

morning noon and night

for survival.

When they aren’t barbecuing.


And boar.

And tofu.

(For the cousins from California)

A smack of Jellyfish

A mob of kangaroos,

a deceit of lapwings.

After which you hike.

Through the sunny hillside

where the tourists,

often with little lapidary hammers,

call in many odd languages

“have you found anything yet?)

Just answer “nope” and keep moving.

Through the dark forest,

down the hill and next to the stream,

where the waterwheels turn

to cut giant agate vases,

nearly always at fair prices,

but sometimes….

A murder of magpies,

A watch of nightingales,

A parliament of owls,

And still you march.

Till the twilight starts to descend,

and you pass the public grill areas

of the clubs.

The anglers’ club

with their fresh caught salmon

(from a supermarket in the area)

actually, only for the cousins from California.

The rest eat the local delicacy,

trout from a stream

named by the Celtic tribes who roamed here,

the descendents of which trout,

have now become genetically immune

to the fluoride

used by the local goldsmiths

to etch the gold used to set the cut diamonds.

A pint of panthers,

A bevy of quail,

An unkindness of ravens,

And still we march.

Past the seniors residence-

then past the pub where the senior citizens,

who no longer have to put up with tourists,

sit outside,

and drink their pint,

the gray panthers, and their quail,

and exchange unkindnesses,

about those who have forgotten them,

and those who have somehow stolen their world,

while they were trying to make a living for their families.

A dopping of sheldrake,

a spring of teal,

a kettle of vultures,

a wisdom of wombats,

And as you call to them, ‘evening, all’

they raise their hiking sticks,

and tip their hats,

since this is what one does here,

and call “wasser weg”

(are you one of the ones who eats hard rolls made with water,

since only in the big cities do they use milk?)

And my Harold, proud local,

answers “wasser weg”

in the local dialect,

and we stop for a moment to hear the news-

what they like, what they don’t like,

and most important,

how it used to be.

A zeal of Zebras,

And you see,

in them,

and in Harold,

and even in those hopping to fifties music

on the dance floor laid in the handball court,

where the younger teens have their competition,

that no matter how many fancy hotels are put up on the hill,

or how many tons of canned jackfruit they buy,

the locals will still


spend their Easter doing what they do best,

and will always eat their steaks

with wasser weg.

copyright 2018 All rights reserved.

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