Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Sunday, 20 July 2014

"Cocoon above! Cocoon below!"

Britta Huegel

Dear You, 
I am a bit suspicious by now. Don't trust myself. Or know myself all too well... which might be the same thing, in the end. 
Meaning: Look at those few posts in the July, (few?!? - I'm fooling myself: only one!), dribbling like tired water from an old hose. I know: we have July - it is hot - very hot in Berlin at the moment, they foretold us 36°C... I love it, but it doesn't turn me into a Mexican jumping-bean... 
A lot of other bloggers seem to be a bit under the weather too. To check myself out I looked at my old blog, "You are witty and pretty". A lot of the dear followers there - of course all bloggers too - have thrown in the towel. Some changed their blog-address. And I want to find out when I gave up my blog - aha: December 2012, BUT - it started much earlier, the retreat - about August, I would say. (Why does Edna O'Brians title "August is a Wicked Month" springs into my mind?). 
I changed my blog after two years - regretted it, because I had more followers then - and hope I have learned from history (hahaha, every historian gives a hearty laugh). Change isn't the answer (that will always happen without my doing). Concentration might be. 
(In this heat? You bet...) 
What do I want to tell you? I am utterly clear in my German blog about cafés and culture in Berlin; quite clear in my blog "Britta's Happiness of the Day" (; also clear but - reduced to a balcony instead of a garden - a bit restrained on "Gardening in High Heels"( - but here? 
A little dab of culture, a little dot of everyday life, a whiff of this, a tattle of that. 
But still I think I won't do what I did yesterday (at last!): I planted a new rose on my balcony, "Augusta Luise", beautifully scented, adorable apricot, wonderful form. I brought her "successor till yesterday, Augusta Luise I." from my garden in Hamburg to the balcony in Berlin; she flowered in the first year, mumbled in the second - then was cautioned by me in the third and fourth year (when she didn't produce one single blossom) - and then I cut a long story short, or, as we say in Germany: "He that will not hear must feel" (come to think of it: that saying dates me - nobody seems to even understand the meaning of it anymore today - but that might be a good thing, too). But poor Augusta Luise I. was banned into the Hinterhof - and I bought a successor, "Augusta Luise II.". (And I do hope that "Getrude Jekyll", "New Dawn", "Iceberg", "Hans Gönnewein" and the other two are willing to draw their lessons from that!)  
And decide languidly: I will stay with this blog. It is much too hot to change it now. 

(fickle and a bit vague as the photo above). 

PS: Just to give you at least something of substance: 

Cocoon above! Cocoon below!
Stealthy Cocoon, why hide you so
What all the world suspect?
An hour, and gay on every tree
Your secret, perched in ecstasy
Defies imprisonment!

An hour in Chrysalis to pass,
Then gay above receding grass
A Butterfly to go!
A moment to interrogate,
Then wiser than a "Surrogate,"
The Universe to know! 
Emily Dickinson 


  1. Oh, thank you. Now I must go hang the sheets, but when I get done I'll be back for more.

  2. Many of us have faltered this summer and some have gone. Perhaps it's state of the world oppression, perhaps only the weather. Even Tom is down to a hundred words a day, and we have the real Tom back in Angola, but busy restoring his life.John always shows up with a smile or a thought, and Ali is back in Scotland. You are the butterfly who alights with food for thought, little pearls and sometimes your pretty little vanities.
    So, thank you for what you bring. See you next time.

    1. Dear Joanne,
      now THAT made me smile like the cat at the creamery, thank you - I even managed to raise myself from the comfortable sofa to read it out to husband (who chuckled especially at the vanities :) - I had to remember him that I started out as a very humble child (hear, hear!) and had to learn the hard way that modesty didn't bring me very far in the career world - men were praising and advertising themselves (sometimes adorned with my ideas) - but I was a quick learner, result: seen as above :)
      The world opression can really and rightly draw one down. And the heat might even make Tom taciturn (for two seconds). Though I still enjoy the warmth - reading English children books, watering flowers on the balcony, and lolling around.

  3. I have a volume of Emily Dickinson's complete poems --all the fair copies she had sewn together and stuffed under her bed and around her room at the family house in Amherst-- and have puzzled over its code for many enjoyable years. Indeed, a universe to know, and our tenure here a constant metamorphosis.

  4. Dear Geo.,
    I believe that Emily's enigmatic poems fascinate you! I have the 3 volumes Poems by The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (ed. by Thomas H. Johnson), - which means all seventeen hundred seventy-five poems, together with the variations) and 1 volume of her letters, same publisher.
    I did not know that she stuffed them under her bed - but believe it instantly.

  5. I'm glad you decided to stay with this blog. Here, you are free. Free to write whatever you want, whenever you want, and without a need to follow any particular theme. And whatever you choose to write, we enjoy. So just relax. It's too hot to fret.

    I never heard of that saying, "He who will not hear must feel," but that sounds like an apt description for how my parents raised me. Worked, too. Believe me, once I "felt", I "heard" a lot better the next time around.

    1. Dear Susan,
      you always manage to make me think and smile - a wonderful combination. I hadn't seen the aspect of freedom and choice. The saying you quote made Joanne ( write a whole post about it.
      The heat lingers on - so I will move inside, pleasantly fatigued.

  6. An Emily Dickinson poem I didn't know (not hard - there are so many) and a good one!

    It's so hard to get anything done in the heat. I'm lucky that I work in schools - and that schools have the good sense to close in the summer.

  7. Dear Mr. Sackerson,
    I am glad that you like the poem. Maybe you will like my poem-blog (and maybe you have also suggestions for my last translation?)
    Enjoy your school hols!