“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time” Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
sometimes I have to remind myself that I have been a gardener.
Created and maintained a big garden in Hildesheim for 19 years, and a small one in Hamburg for two years.
So I am used to rhythm, used to the abundance of summer and the scarcity of winter.
But in a big city it is easy to forget to listen to the fainter sounds, or to rest your eyes by looking at a grey sky with its hundreds of nuances (or only one). Not easy to stop running around and just sit down - trying, at least for a short time, to do nothing.
Berlin emits the Winter-Blah. Cloaked itself into a grey shroud, sacrificed its last jewels, a chain of has-been Christmas trees, that filled the streets and alleys like a far stretched green band of wounded nature, to the busy binmen.
It is cold outside, but it is not "the real winter" with its vibrant blue sky that makes you giggle and fills your lungs with fresh air and then, coming back from a walk through the countryside with glowing cheeks and frozen fingers you tuck in a warm apple pie where the apples melt in your mouth, the velvety fragrance of cinnamon wafts into your nose, and you start to sip from a hot mug of tea - and I feed you tea and oranges, that came all the way from China - and then you sit content in a huge armchair and read your dear Pushkin or just dream a bit before a crackling fire in a fireplace (that I don't have).
No - lets face it bravely: the party is over.
Good!- time for a rest. Time to set one's things in order. Make plans. Order the tiny bags of seeds for the coming year: this ones will - hopefully - bloom into a slender campanile in Italy, these will disseminate in abundance like a chain of Brandenburger villages, with endless fields of yellow rapeseed, and if you are lucky some tiny plants of friendship and love will grow up into solid trees, but that, dear heart, will take some time...
As everything has its time, we know that. We just have to hold ourselves back not to scratch away the earth that protects what is growing in secrecy underneath - just trust, it is there, growing stronger every day.
In the meantime: slow down a bit. Accept a - seemingly - plateau.
And look: though the black silhouette of the tree in front of the balcony still hums a monotone winter song, the sky wears a dashy pale pink today.
And that has its beauty too.
Oh yes, January.ReplyDelete
Yes, Tom - that term makes sense! By the way: yesterday I got the DVD "Wind in the Willows" that you wrote about: I'm quite excited to see it!Delete
A pink sky for Birgitta; nice to find on a cold day.ReplyDelete
I enjoy a morning sunrise especially, Joanne. If in early winter the sky becomes soft-pink in the evening, a northern German saying is: "The angels bake bread" (for Christmas). As a child I believed that.Delete
I don't mind January Britta and, as I have a February birthday, maybe that's why I quite like the winter. I always think that every season has it's merits and something to offer. Spring is just around the corner !!! XXXXReplyDelete
As I have birthday at the very end of December, I love winter too - but more the cold variety that we often have in Berlin. At the moment it is something "in-between" - though a walk through the Tiergarten shows that virburnum has already opened up its lovely scented flowers. I'm with you that every season has its merits - and I would not want to miss any. XXXDelete
I try to make the best of it but I'm not a fan of the cold, dark weeks. The fact that I lack the patience to be a good gardener doesn't help.ReplyDelete
I liked the winter-photos on your blog very much. Yes - patience is what a gardener needs, though one can train it (I'm not what you would call a 'patient' woman).Delete
"Plateau" is such a good word for this time of year (unless, of course, you're in Australia or some such where it's summertime). Whether city or countryside, the gray cold isn't pleasant (does anyone like this sort of weather, anywhere), though we can still have the lovely indoor things you mention, cup of tea, a good book, some lovely music, a fire.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Sue: we used the word "plateau" especially when we raised our child: there are some times when you think: why doesn't it go quicker - but suddenly there is a jump in development (though I am a person who loses patience just one day before the awaited result comes - I learned that now and hinder myself to write the letter of complaint etc - next day the ordered parcel will be there :-)Delete
So you do have a fireplace? I lit some candles instead...
I remember sitting in a high school auditorium in 1968. Judy Collins was on stage singing Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne". Thank you for reminding me of that lovely evening and a song that has never left me.ReplyDelete
You are a very close reader, Geo., and I always delight in your comments. Yes, Leonard Cohen - I sometimes think his beautiful songs are making me immobile when I listen too much, one can lie on a couch and peter out (?) all day in a melancholic-melting way - but there are lines like the one above that are pure (visible) beauty.Delete
I sat within a few feet of Leonard Cohen in 1970 when he sang and played his guitar in a classroom space at Queen's University in Kingston. It was a wonderful evening - a man, a guitar and a very small audience. There are lines from songs that will always evoke a particular time of life, a particular state of mind, and Leonard Cohen has written many for me.ReplyDelete
January has had the opposite effect on me. I am feeling as though I have slowed down to the point of inertia. Time to move forward a little and really feel the day.
Loved this, though.
Wow, Pondside, such an exclusive concert you had - a small audience, a young Leonhard, that is something you'll never forget! (Though I love the old Leonard too, he is aging very well, I think). And some song lines are real poetry.Delete
As to slowing down to the point of inertia: I know that too - and then appease myself by thinking that all one's talents are dormant, the batteries need to be recharged - and that is a good thing too (that's why I can't imagine to live in a land with all-year sun). Winter-Blah boosts energy - though I admit that all the knowledge doesn't make it easier to endure 'the plateau'...
I liked your comment on my post - the comparison to a bulb and it's growth out of sight. I'd forgotten that.ReplyDelete
Yes, that Cohen 'concert' is a wonderful memory - it was the week I met The Great Dane and our first real 'date'.
Dear Pondside, thank you! What a wonderful synchronicity (if that's the word I mean) of events.Delete
When I lived in New Hampshire, winter was always upon us. January was bleak, indeed. Now in Florida, January is mild and bright. But the truth is that we are blessed with the seasons we are given and they are only bleak if we view them in that manner. Happy weather to you.ReplyDelete
Dear JJ, I am one who easily adjusts (after a short time of protest :-)Delete
At the moment I am on the look-out for the tops (or tips?) of the crocuses that are already to be seen, and the (already! though still tiny) swelling buds of lilac.
We gardeners tend to hibernate in winter - a little like the plants in the garden - in just a few weeks time the soil will get warmer and become alive once more then we too will wake up and continue where we left off in October. I am ready and waiting.ReplyDelete
Dear Elaine, yes - hibernating - and planning. When I had the big garden, I always grew restless in very early March - like the blackbird I rummaged around old leaves, raking them away -- usually a bit to early, because then a last frost followed -- but otherwise: no way to come out on top of the ground elder...ReplyDelete