This summer hasn’t exactly been what you would call summer – at least not in August. People whine about it all the time, but I tend to forget. Sure, we’re not hanging out down by the river every night, yearning for a bit of refreshment and the soft evening sun. I also tend to forget, how much water poured down from the skies onto the land, flooding rivers, letting lake levels rise and giving all those buzzy mosquitoes ground to spawn.
Last week, we made use of a few beautifully non rainy days, hopped into my mum’s car and drove out to Ammersee. Family friend’s of ours have a small lakeside property there. In the winter, when we were trying to decide on where to celebrate our marriage, they offered to host us. What impressed me the most about their property was the masses of driftwood that had accumulated beyond where lake and land meet. So while we didn’t end up celebrating there we did collect a few baskets full of driftwood for our table decoration.
We crawled along the long, mossy dock. Through brushes and reeds. And where the docks ended, over floating driftwood bogs. In the winter, the driftwood had been a never ending jumble of silvery wood, sitting beyond the reeds like it was the most common type of habitat. Now, in the summer, this – as I tend to forget – rainy summer, at first glance it just looked a little smaller. A little less silvery. Nevertheless: majestic. The calm waters carried the voices of a family on their sailboat over to us. Birds were nesting and chirping in the reeds. And the sun immersed the scene in its warm light.
What broke the peace of that view were the first steps off the dock and onto the driftwood. While in the winter it had been like a chaotic but solidly built platform, now the water levels were a lot higher. The ground underneath was muddy and the driftwood in a stage somewhere between resting and floating. Every step you had to test out the stability of the logs first. Some logs would slowly start sinking under the weight of your steps, slowing pushing into the mud causing tiny gas bubbles to rise to the surface of the water. Within minutes a soft smell of rotten wood and other decay gases filled the air.
We later dried our harvest in the sun and watched the silvery shimmer return. Now it’s only a few days until they’ll shimmer in all their splendour.