December 5, 2011

the mole

One rainy Sunday afternoon in late November, Squirrel was craving a cup of hot cocoa and listening Robert Wyatt in The nest...She especially likes his band called "matching mole".  The band name is just adopted an English words which sounds like "machine molle", the French translation of his band Soft Machine.  This weird but warm sounds used to stimulate her instinct as a teenage squirrel and she realizes it still does even now.  Also she is thinking about a one lil mole which always comes up to her mind along with this band name...who's name is "Krtek".  Krtek the tiny lil mole...

Hey everyone.  I'm Squirrel.  So today, I will tell you about this cool lil fellow called "Krtek"

Krtek is a tiny mole.  His name Krtek means "mole" in Czech.

He's a very sweet, curious, cheerful, and brave character created by a Czech artist Zdeněk Miler.  (Well I don't even know how to pronounce his name.  Too hard to pronounce for this rodential creature)

Anyway, I used to love this cartoon when I was a baby squirrel but I remember it vaguely because I was too young.  So I started looking for the cartoon in you tube and once I started watching it, I started being obsessed again.

Let me show you some masterpieces.

This is awesome...."the mole and a match box." 

This lil guy finds a match box in the woods. What amazed me is, you know what? He can lay in the match box...means he's really tiny. You can compare the size with the size of the leaves in the video. The pond they float the match box as a boat in must be just a puddle for us. An adventure in a puddle!! This tiny world is so awesome. He starts playing using this match box with his girl friend, the mouse. And they are full of creative ideas to play with this small match box. Im sure you'll be impressed how cool they are.

This is awesome too.  "the mole finds a star!"

Spring has come! The mole and his fellows are busy cleaning up their nests to welcome their new season!   While the mole is cleaning his nest, he accidentally finds a shinny green unknown object!!!  What the heck is this shinny thing? 
He goes out his nest.  It is already night.  He holds the green shinny thing in his hand, which is somewhat bigger than his other parts of the body and also a uniqueness of the kind called mole, and reaches out the hand to the sky (his short legs are tippy toeing)...yes,  this tiny mole is kindly trying to give the tiny shinny thing back to the sky because he thinks this thing is a "star" fell from the sky.  It is obvious to me that he cant reach the sky.   He is the size who can lay in the match box...and sky is unlimitedly high.  How could he?  But he will.  We know he'll do it somehow...that's the mole.  that's Krtek.
Something like this...this kind of cuteness is filled in this cartoon.

Eventually the fascination this catoon has drove me to research the background story of this cartoon.  It dates back to the days of Czech as Czechoslovakia.  Back in the 60's in the country, artists were strictly controlled the freedom of expression by the government.  The only place they were allowed to express their arts without any surveillance of the government  was the art for kids.  So the artists put their efforts for children wishing the bright future for kids and their country.  

As researching about this cartoon, I found Zdeněk Miler the creator of this cartoon just passed away on November 30th.  (it's only last week!!) It was a strange coincidence that I remembered of this cartoon all of a sudden around that day...
it is kind of like a hunch, maybe.

He lived for 90 years.  He must be the one who witnessed the history changing...

While I've been watching this mole cartoon, I couldn't help noticing that I've been feeling some kind of melancholic feeling.  I know it sounds weird.  The characters are cute, the stories are cheerful and nothing but fun.  Some of them are satirical and still end up in fun ending which tells us how intelligent the creator was.  How could I feel that kind of sad feeling?  But it was there.  A pinch of a heartache deep inside of my heart. I was thinking it was just a nostalgy or sentiment which the cartoon brought me because it reminded me of my childhood memories or something.

Then one day I got a message from my long term friend and while I was reading the message I started realizing what exactly the feeling was.  
2011 was a remarkable year for me because of the disaster in japan.  (This squirrel used to live in japan.)  In the email which tells me a recent news of one of my long term friend living in japan and also a mom of two,   she said she had to give up letting her kids take participate in the fall event "potato field" due to the consideration of the "soil radiation".  I used to love this event when I was a kid.  especially I loved watching moles showing their tip of noses mischievously.   Running around all over the potato field laughing and digging potatoes were so fun. I even liked just watching the shapes of the potatoes which were all different. (i was a strange kid. )  I still remember the color of the potatoes, the color of soil, the color of the sky and the sunshine!! The sunshine of autumn!!  Those innocent memories... 

But now we must have destroyed and completely lost the soil and water which consist the field where moles, his fellow animals, and kids chuckling and cackling and spontaneously running around, and they might not come back forever. 
It was this kind of guilt feeling and desparation making me sad every time I hear Krtek's cute laughing voice.   In japan, not only krteks but also people can't live spontaneously as they used to any more. 

The feeling of loss of the innocence...

that what I felt through the cute innocent face of Krtek... 

Oops, am i being too negative??

I wonder if Zdeněk Miler is still alive and decide to make a new episode of Krtek.

He would make a witty episode for sure and tell us "don't give up the hope.  You really shouldn't give up the hope and the future at the time like these." through Krtek.  He and Krtek must laugh at my strange sad feeling and I would be even embarrassed.  

I should take over his tough spirit and gut which got him through the difficult period.
And think what I can do for kids as an artist squirrel...

R.I.P. Zdeněk Miler. 

Thank you for your great works.