Amphibious Trilogies

Giddying up

Arkhangelsk beneath the changing summer skies. There’s a summer amusement fair in town. And I’ve seen the ferris wheel marked on a painted wall beside the cathedral. It’s hot today and people seem to be having a rest, or a long lunch or just swatting the odd midge.

I decide to leave the cool river waters and make my way on land. I go past that perpetually suspended fellow maritime creature on the promenade, ever thankful that movement is mine.

Today I need to take myself in hold. To giddy myself up as if a fairground donkey. Reminds me of that etching I saw last summer when i joined the tour of the museum, former east Germans it seemed. I too need to be more active to get to know the city.

And so today will pretend I am dressed up in a summer tank top and walk purposively across the street. I have learned that few people notice me when I do this, most likely thinking I am a small dog. And by the time they blink twice I have gone. Amphibiousness also on land as last summer I needed to slither into a drain here all too hurriedly when that bulldog slobbered all over me, wet but well, just disgusting.

Up the street and then I turn the corner and cannot believe my eyes. There is a boat, rocking out of water and the gleeful screams of children.

It reminds me of last year’s sneaky visit to the Regional Lore Museum: there I found one of many ships out of water in its magnificent displays, learning fast as I must about this passage of goods and time and seasons if I am to survive.

I had to smile, and yes I do, when then I started to see boats out of water everywhere, symbolically speaking set in windows, beside the river, that passage to the sea, framed against the river, on the river, in the water, like me. The one from the Northern Maritime Museum made me want to break through the glass into the light and warm wet.

But that would have attracted too much attention and interrupted my learning cycles as I to call them, suckering up so much information in my several brains.

Be calm. My bodily and mental exercises are to move between worlds and movements. I shiver at the thought of being trapped in steel or stone on the river banks, like the monument to the convoys of the Second World War. A ship that cannot sail, a vessel out of water, a moving marvel of transportation frozen for the public, history made of steel. Ship seeming to ride a concrete sea, the sand, the water and saturated sky behind it.

I have found my home, tentacles tingling on dry land. Oh what would the winter version of this be? When I have to fight for a breathing hole through the ice and elongate myself to the point of snapping, exhaustedly shooting across the same street into the hotel lobby and up the stairs to the aquarium in the bar, slipping into the corner just behind the velvet curtain, beside the ceaseless tv. Ah, rest.


Click & Drag: Rotate the view.
Right Click & Drag: Pan the view.