Siena Jun

July 2019

Second of July, I first set foot in Klein Warnow, a small village in Prignitz two hours train ride into the dense towering forest from Berlin on the way to Hambourg. I looked down and around me to see where I was, and I said, “look, there are holes—lots of them.” Holes were all over the land—on the forest floor, on the reclining bodies of dead trees, in the middle of chopped tree trunks. Holes offer fresh memories of their residents (fungi, bees, snakes, squirrels, moles…). In my mind, I saw them digging out and carrying dry pieces of wood or handful of damp soil each trip in and out of their holes, crawling inside when the holes got big enough, and resting their bodies, hiding away from the cold, unpredictable night. These holes, discreet and unreachable, are signs of security that we all understand and desire across different species.

7.7 This morning, I was washing my hands in the bathroom. Then I noticed a group of little dots couple inches above the soap box. Up close, they turned out to be a family of ants. Their bodies were tinged with dark reddish hue. They were not moving so fast, or not at all at times, which me think of hikers taking a breath while holding onto the edge of a heavy rock they were climbing. Mor said, “I’m not allowing you to kill them in this house.”

7.8 We sat around a large wooden table in the middle of the kitchen with Klaus and his four other friends. His walls had a warm, well-tempered shade of blue. It was Klaus’ birthday breakfast. Klaus said, “You’re from America, but you don’t look like American because your family is from Asia, no?” with a kind smile on his face as he always does. I said, “yes,” also with a smile.

7.10 At Grabow, I met Gerhard. An older guy in his 70s maybe with a thick white beard and a bald head thinly covered by sparse white hair. He had a rotund body and was wearing bright green overalls. I asked him about the abandoned fabrik standing in front of us, which had caught my attention from the first moment we stepped inside the town. Gerhard explained, pointing at the plaque near the entrance, that it was a corn mill factory from the 14th century which is now defunct. Pipes, cut open, wide enough for me to crawl inside, were sticking out from the solid brick wall.

7.13 Stepping on a damp forest bed gives me an illusion that there’s a big body lying underneath: thousands of ligaments, tiny finger bones, soft skin with scabs, and lots of holes.

7.16 Sharon and I found mushrooms shaped like the number 8, a twin, actually. Their white plasticky texture, close to that of styrofoam, was very tempting to touch but I resisted because they stank like they were rotten.

7.17 A quick walk along the railroad just a couple steps away from our courtyard. Viper’s bugloss everywhere. Furry leaves, every bunch swaying and wiggling like an animal. Vibrant blue.

7.30 encounter with the tuning fork tree