Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Friday, 4 February 2022

How to "reframe" a molehill


Why on earth did I choose the photo above for a post I wanted to write about "reframing"?  
Reason most often follows my impulsive choices.  
Moles - as every gardener knows - are a nuisance in a well-kept garden.  On a meadow I can watch them without anger or worry - not mulling if the farmer shares my nonchalance. 

"Reframing" is a modern psychologic method which turns an old-fashioned adage into something that brings more money. Olden folks said: "Look at the bright side!" - now we "reframe". (Sorry, I know, dear psychologists, that my name is Horatio: "There are more things in heaven and earth...")

The well-advised gardener tells himself how valuable the fluffy worked-through earth of a molehill is (though preferably brought from a meadow, miles away from his garden). 

From the realm of metaphor to reality: 

Since yesterday I have to stay at home (in Bavaria) - only for three or four days, and just as a precaution. 
My dear friend Anne visited me on Wednesday, so glad to see her! 
Her daughter, a vet (horses mainly) and mother of three boys who go to school, lives only 45 minutes by car from me, and as Anne was visiting her she drove her mother to me. All three of us had a wonderful cheery evening. 
Son&DiL thought it wise that for 3 -4 days after that visit I shouldn't have contact with the triplets - Omicron is in Germany at its height, really alarming. All of us are 3x vaccinated (except the triplets of course) - and I can understand their concerns, especially as mostly school kids spread that plague now. 
When I told Anne that I have to stay at home (of course with walks and buying groceries) she said: "You should have told me, then we wouldn't have come..." "Exactly", I interrupted, "that is just why I didn't - I wanted you here!!"
And then her daughter used the technique of "reframing": "Well, see it like this: now you will have three days just for yourself, isn't that wonderful?" 
Knowing that it is only for a short time I agree with her: 
it is. 
Now I have a mini-holiday, a bulk of time to write, do Yoga, do my household, make plans, draw, think - wonderful!"



  1. You wrote: Her daughter, a vet and mother of three boys who go to school, lives only 45 minutes by car from me, and as Anne was visiting her she drove her mother to me..for a wonderful cheery evening.

    Wouldn't it be terrific to be a vet? I would love it, as long as the animals each had 4 legs and didn't slime on the ground. Horses, dogs, sheep, cats, koala bears etc would be amazing.

  2. Dear Helen, I am sure you would like the hilarious tales she tells about her work!

    She says, that nowadays it is easier to buy a horse (which a lot of people do without having much knowledge about horses). In Covid time many owners start to tell her all about their life - people have become very lonely, so it seems.
    It is a wonderful, though tough job - in a perimeter of 40 km she has to serve patients and their demanding owners. One of her sisters became an orthodontist - there you can rake in bucks of money; but not as a vet. Yet I bet she has more fun!

  3. Your visit with Anne and her daughter sounds wonderful and a good time was had by all. In 3 days of semi-solitude, you will be renewed and ready to take on whatever you like. As they say, "Keep your eye on the prize."

  4. That is a great saying, Susan - and very true.
    I learn that "one must celebrate when one has the opportunity" the hard way - my friend and I look at the two presents (I gave her the gift of three days in a fine hotel in Torquay, she added a menu in the Ritz -- can you imagine that we postponed it just because a trifle in our life was not sooo fitting - no real reason, not at all...
    Then Corona came - now we regret - well-knowing that there is no use to cry about spilled milk... But I am hell-bent to learn...

  5. Reframing: I suppose the world is less sympathetic to today's youngsters, and reframing has become a habit.

  6. I agree with you that youngsters have a very tough time at the moment, Joanne - yet I think "reframing" is a habit that is worthwhile, because there is almost ever a way to find something bright in a situation.

  7. The younger the child, the stronger their immune system. Trouble is they are all now experimenting with diseases to strengthen it for old age...

    1. While I typed my answer to you, Tom, Rosemary pressed the" send" button . thus my answer to you stands under mine to her.

  8. I am sure that most of us have been reframing our lives over the last two years. So many plans, excusions, and pleasures have had to be put aside and substitutes made.
    My youngest son caught Covid at the beginning of this week. He is a teacher, and we presume he caught it from one or other of his pupils. However, the good news is that because he has been triple vacinated it has been very mild, and even his wife has not caught it from him. I think that this news must bode well for the future of us all.

    1. Oh, there must have happened a coincidence/mixture while answering Tom!

      It is comforting to hear that your son had a mild course of Covid, and his wife didn't even catch it. I hope that this will be the way the virus can be coped with in future: as bad as a real influenza - but not a threat to the whole system. I believe into the ingenuity of mankind - I was really fascinated how quick scientists found possible vaccinations and am thankful for that (but want to take those in my own free will and decision, not as one group singled out, see my answer to Tom. ). .

  9. I have to think twice to understand, Tom.
    I also believe that very young children are protected, though the number of teenagers that get it grows here
    I am lucky to have a very fit immune system (they controlled that), and I got 3 vaccinations. But if you want to see me angry mention the "obligatory vaccination for all over 50", as they discuss it in Germany. I am for vaccination by my own free choice, and I think it preposterous that they want to make it obligatory for all older persons without checking if we need it - while an obese 40-year-old person maybe with diabetes or heart inflammatory doesn't have to be protected? No!
    Vaccination for all and everyone (except the youngsters) I would accept (with teethe grinding) - but not only for one group.

  10. If you had not told us we were looking at molehills, I would never have known! Making a mountain out of a molehill is used all the time as an expression but, though understanding what it implies, I hadn't realised they really just looked like cow pats, hahah. Reframing them as soil aeration would be the wisest path to avoid a gardener's gnashing of teeth :)

    Three-days elegantly savouring in seclusion the memory of your friends' visit makes it rather special, really. If only all our encounters in life could be set apart like that, like treasured nuggets to enjoy and reflect upon before being swept away by the next thing on the agenda. We'd need to live to a very grand age, indeed.

  11. Dear Pip, please excuse that I answer so late!
    Yes: molehills are not as high as we might think when talking about and blowing up some incident that happens. Dramatising often makes live interesting - but also often exhausting.
    It might be fun to meet The Callas, Elizabeth Taylor or Madonna - but maybe only for a short time... for longer I'd prefer the Dalai Lama.

    The mole hills are a bit more hilly as they appear to be on the photo - but not much.

    The four days of quarantine ended with a self-applied test, and that proved that I was as fit as a fiddle. I am so sorry that I cannot say the same of my friend - one reason to meet her, and another to accept every price for that.
    And as you say: I enjoyed my solitary mini-break.
    You made me aware how to use the word "re-framing", (a word which I instantly liked): when we use it "literally". If some picture is very valuable to use, we give it a frame - in this case a golden one.