Talfes – Profiteers Field

by Janus Zeitstein

The newcomer rolls over countless turns along an embankment past an overhanging wall onto a sunny plateau; at least during the summer months, an idyllic light glows there.

After the first bend into the old farming village, a cherry tree-lined dirt road branched off to the right, groaning under the gravel stones. The “farm” was reached via this.

This is how the few old locals called the residence of the mighty construction giant, memories of Hollywood, a screaming hint that there was another world whose heroes kept getting lost from time to time in this small mountainous junction. Nagging locals had even dubbed them ‘shopping bags’,although they were shopping containers, they were the heroes of the economy, big-time landowners, film producers and film tycoons, tax experts and legal tongues, successful people in the eyes of the locals, unspeakably wealthy, who would meet for carriage rides on this farm.

When they were in residence, the whole village stood in awe and held out its self-confident hand, tried to get on well with the heroes from that fabulous world.

The mayor hardly dared to be absent from the village on these big days, in case one of the heroes needed anything from him.

Not far from this wonderful farm, maybe half an hour’s walk away, in a small side valley that had retained a certain wildness, a larger shelter stretched its proud roof into nature, firmly founded on silent granite blocks, by a roaring torrent that rustled under the original bay toilet. A sleeping room with a mattress camp and a large paneled lounge that was also a dining room and an annex that had something of an old, wooden bowling alley hardly disturbed the peaceful calm of the grazing cows. Lively laughter of brown-tanned mountain foxes echoed fivefold back from azalea mats, faded on paths riddled with cow hooves, on muddy fords through countless rivulets that squeezed from the mountain slopes down into the valley.

The forester who had this area in his care lived in this refuge. He was surely over seventy years old, always grumpy, never had a good word for anyone.

As a gamekeeper and mushroom picker, he really didn’t need to be told by anyone, he was a luminary, rightly so. There was something lovable in his unruly behavior, he was never hurtful, always on the edge of a knife, on a tightrope, he would challenge his counterpart to the utmost. His knowledge of nature and of life were expressed in often cynical comments; he was said to have natural objectivity, the exact opposite of an oracle. There was no ambiguity in his speaking, he had trained his eyes on those of the eagle. And his understanding was in no way inferior to his eyes.

The refuge was a meeting point for everyone who was connected to the place in an earthy manner, for whom the farming village also meant a gateway to nature.

On one of those light-filled summer days, two handfuls of such nature lovers roared together, gathered around a long table, throwing accusations that someone had betrayed them and sold them, that no one had been brave enough to say anything. It was about the construction of the new cable car, the planning of which had often been rumored, but no one had really believed, especially that its implementation would ever come through in the existing building ban.

Three days and four nights, a lightning campaign and the new facility was on the mountain. It had grown into the landscape almost tacitly. And now, of course, there were hot debates about how something like this could have happened.

Champagne was served at the hacienda with the horse stables and bites with alpine shrimp and river prawns according to delicious recipes from the large, wide world of haute cuisine. Black aprons and even blacker bandanas, the mountains broke a hundred times in crystal glasses and were reflected on silver plates, which were full of fruits and exotic treasures.

In the hut of nature’s friends beer and schnapps and gray cheese with black bread.

Someone was talking about fuses and cartridges.
The night was warm and clear.

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