Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Sunday, 24 April 2022

"Such larks..."


The last days Yours Truly felt a bit under the weather - which, by the way, is exceptionally sunny and mild and so full of Spring. 

I tried almost all of the remedies I know for getting over the blues: take every day a long, long and brisk walk over the hills, eat healthy and well, e-mail or telephone with friends, read (last reliable resort: children books), make the household neat and organised, talk to my plants on the balcony, listen to the jubilating birds, write into my gratitude book and my diary - and, and, and... 

I see three reasons why it only helped a little bit - number four is a sort of solution: 

One every Sherlock can find in the text above: "e-mail or telephone with friends": for an unusual long time I felt lonely (the luxury version, I know: almost every day I enjoy the triplets, and the Flying Dutchman came over for a week around Easter, and I always have a long To-Do- list that makes people exhausted by just reading it. Yet...)

Second is a thing that maybe doesn't exist or only in my imagination: a few weeks ago I got the fourth shot of Biontec - and though I never suffer from side effects, (and am thankful for being protected), every time I feel LOW after it, really low in my soul and spirit.  

I noticed the same reaction in friends who got their yearly flu-vaccination. And I think: well, well, well, a vaccination rehearses in your body the - mild - form of the sickness it should afterwards protect you against. Right? Wrong? 

Third: the state of the world IS a reason to feel low. But then: I may ask my fees back from the studies of literature if I hadn't known that before. It seems nearer now - and thus more dangerous - but not new under the sun. Maybe some of my rose-coloured bubbles were bursting. Which normally is called growing-up

Fourth: An insight which led to action: 

I tried to adjust and stare bravely back into the face of my reality. It took two years of Corona-prison for making me willing to admit for the first time in my life: I am getting older. 


Yesterday I even tried to tinkle this platitude into the Header of my Blog. 

And then this morning I found the remedy. 

Laughter. Not taking myself so serious. No drama, please. 

I read Pips answer to my comment - and laughed heartily. 

And laughed even more when I looked at my honest attempt to accept reality by admitting that even I get older. I had  typed: "But older now" - and then I saw that Google had changed it (in very tiny letters) to: But Older No"

Hahaha. It made me think of the Sanskrit Leela (or lila) - "God's play- which should not be confused with reality. 

In the Hindu view of nature, then, all forms are relative, fluid and ever-changing maya, conjured up by the great magician of the divine play. The world of maya changes continuously, because the divine lila is a rhythmic, dynamic play. The dynamic force of the play is karma, an important concept of Indian thought. Karma means "action". It is the active principle of the play, the total universe in action, where everything is dynamically connected with everything else. In the words of the Gita Karma is the force of creation, wherefrom all things have their life.— Fritjof CapraThe Tao of Physics (1975)

I thought of a (a bit superficial) book I own by Maigret/Mas with the fascinating title: 

        Older, But Better, But Older. 

Nothing to add. 


  1. I am blessed with a positive mental attitude and have a sunny disposition ( as you are ) but, now and again we all feel a bit down ….. it’s natural sometimes ( especially when we realise we actually are old !!! ) I’m sure you will be back to your old self very soon. Sending much love ( and laughter ( the best medicine ) ) from the U.K. XXXX

    1. Dear Jackie, that cheers me up, thank you!
      And yes: I know that moods change, I am only very surprised that I have this one. Normally I am the one with rose-tinted glasses, and see things from the bright side.
      Maybe it is my long absence from Berlin too - I am a city-plant, though here in Bavaria it is so beautiful and I am a nature lover too.
      I will just "sit it out".

  2. Well as you know I have just had a cold and at more or less the same time a BIG birthday. A double whammy but actually I have been quite cheerful, not down in mood, just physically drained and a little bit shocked that I can be ill and I am getting old. Getting old I find hard to face but I am getting better at it. Love and warm wishes from me too Britta xx

    1. Yes, dear Rachel, I read about your retreat from blogging for a while. I love birthdays, and enjoyed mine at the end of December. I haven't been ill for a very long time - better knock on wood - and my only draw-back is sometimes a lower blood-pressure, though the doctor always is glad and astonished about that (and my fitness). So maybe I should drink a cup of coffee before blogging :-)
      I thank you so much for your welcome wishes! xxx

  3. You are very fortunate to enjoy the triplets as often as you want. Not only does the adult gain endless pleasure from the children themselves. But the adult also has the opportunity to plan activities that make life exciting - hikes, gardening, football, cooking etc.

    I envy you. My grandchildren are teenagers so they think they know everything.

    1. Thank you, Helen, to remind me of all the happiness I am blessed with! I felt a bit ashamed when I think about my circumstances and the luck I have - yet the for me unfamiliar feeling was there. Not dramatically, but there.
      When I am among the children I am so busy, the things they start to say, and the very different characters they have, that I have no blue feeling at all. I / we do a lot with the children: they are very sporting, one is enchanted by football and does it very well - and we planted flowers in the garden - and they water them - and with 2 years and 8 months the development of language, grammar and humour is breathtaking. So I'll jump from moaning to meaning, promised.

  4. All of those possible causes of your period of lowness sound very feasible to me. I think you are not alone! I too love children's books when I am feeling like that - so long as they are good ones.

    1. Thank you, Tom - I feel understood, which soothes me. As I said above: I feel almost guilty that I am so "complicated".
      Good children books I have a lot (English authors are on the top, and it is interesting that the Dutch authors writing for children are much more humorous than in their depressing novels for grown-ups :-)

  5. Britta, dearest, I am thrilled to have unwittingly coaxed you back towards the sunshine with a soupçon on silliness! And I see how clever Google has just draped a gauzy veil across your "now" and is quite prepared to play along, too. Such larks ...

    Maya, if you remember, was the name for the glamorous shape-shifting alien working on Moonbase Alpha in "Space 1999". Those screenwriters of the 70s never missed a trick with the Eastern mysticism! Was it something in the water back then??

    Warmly wishing you a tranquil Sunday, with your blood coursing in the customary direction! xx

    1. Dear Pip, yes, you really cheered me up (and your posts always do) - thank you!
      I have to confess that I seldom read science fiction - even that is an exaggeration. In the above mentioned book "Older, but better, but older" I found a quote which is only(!) meant for my reading science fiction (not for other books!):

      Under the headline "Truth, and nothing but truth" they write:
      "Yes, that book really gripped me, especially the beginning." (= I have only read the title. Actually I do not read any more, but only view series.)

      Hahaha - when I liked something like Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide through the Galaxy" I could be pretty sure that it is NOT a representative of the genre.

      Can you imagine that I rack my brain to find the title of that course at the university where my friend and I were expelled? It was part of the "studium generale" - maybe we were not mature enough, and hopefully never will

      PS: Ha! I got it! - there's still hope for my brain: "Autogenes Training" was the hype of those days. "Your left arm becomes utterly heavy..."

  6. I too feel some of the same symptoms as you Britta - and yesterday Bob reminded me why when I was slowly walking holding onto his arm to steady myself at the grocery store. Dealing with physical changes as we age is hard when one has been a fast, strong walker, and worrying about the future is natural but doesn't help if thoughts are mostly negative. I/we are working today on getting our odds and ends organized - can't say the book we are using is bringing smiles and raucous laughter ("A Beginners Guide to the End"), but it does help, and will help those left behind some day.

    Later I think I'll dig out my children's books, so old that they are perfection compared to what children seem to be reading today, and sit on the porch in the sunshine, put on my rose-tinted glasses, turn the pages, read, dream, and relive all the good years in peace and happiness with thanks.

    Chin up dear friend, hope the coming week will be full of good times for you.
    Hugs, Mary

    1. Dear Mary, thank you so much for the hugs and your empathy!
      As you might know I wrote a good-selling book on housekeeping for young men - thus I am always following literature of that kind with a keen eye.
      Do you know the book of Margareta Magnusson: (Döstädning) Dostadning: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning (Cannongate Books). It is a good read (though not really necessary - we all know what we have too much of or should order or let go :-)
      "A Beginners Guider to the End" is new to me - I will have a look at it. Though I am healthy, fit as a fiddle and do a lot - but one never knows, as I saw in my dearest friend (which shook me up too, very much.)
      If all my questions become too complicated I'll dip my watch into the cup of tea of the Mad Hatter... (definitely no book written for children). I love Tove Jansson's Moomin books, or Winnie the Pu, and, and, and...

  7. Dear Britta - I have been crusing along with similar thoughts too. The whole situation for each and everyone of us today is so alien, we have all experienced a charmed life so far, but maybe we didnt realise until now.
    I am really pleased that our blogfriend Pip has worked her magic on you and brought you laughter. Take care dear Britta.

    1. Dear Rosemary, thank you so much for your understanding words!
      And yes: all of us are affected in one way or other - and maybe this is just one part of making it difficult to speak about it, because we all know that there are the people suffering from war (or serious illness) who have real sorrows, while mine are luxury problems.
      I do what I can to appreciate all the wonderful things I got. And laughter reduces my sorrows to what they are: trifles, and passers-by.

  8. Life is definitely not the same simply because of Covid. No wonder we are all having one reaction or another. We'd all be travelling freely and enjoying life to the fullest. Family and friends are important but moving freely without Covid precautions is still not where we are. Add the Russian and Ukraine crisis, and this adds yet another layer of concern. Cheer-up Britta, as we all feel some bleakness. We must live in hope that one day life will return to what we knew.

    1. Dear Susan, thank you!
      As most of us I felt the threat of Covid as paralysing; I am a person who easily finds contact with others (and that is the charm of Berlin: so many interesting people!).
      To be so lucky to be healthy, fit and thankful for the persons around me, all secure (though one existence was economically heavily threatened by the crisis - which stressed me for one&half year very much) - that is something I do not take lightly., no, I am thankful!
      I do not believe that our life will change back to the life I knew - it will be changed, but I also see chances that we learn by it. And that I do hope.

  9. Your world is a bright and happy as you allow it to be. It seems you have done a deal of soul searching and have put together your best universe. So keep your self amused and happy and wait for the crazy world to catch up.

    1. Dear Joanne, I soak up your encouraging words!
      And they show me that I can do something to get out of the mire (a place that very seldom sees me -- I think about selling it as healthy mud packs... see: I'm getting better :-)
      And your words made me think deeper and I found out something incredible: five years ago I lost the ground under my feet, (after 46 years of being together), but I am (most times) over that - but now I was/am threatened a second time to lose a person I shared my whole adult life with, and the second person with whom I can share almost all my thoughts with. The threat to lose her, my best friend, is awful. No wonder I feel blue - though it seems that the OP has helped. I pray for that.

  10. Dear Britta - this is a reply for you from my latest post. You are correct - the Primula elatior grow south from the eastern side of the UK to Sweden, The Alps and S. Russia - please accept my apologies.

  11. Dear Rosemary, thank you! No apologies necessary - as I wrote I am not that sure that I have really found them.
    I learn so much from you - and am always enchanted by your beautiful photographs. So thank you so much for all your interesting posts!