Painting on the East Side Wall, Berlin
Photo by Marc on Unsplash

Maybe I have some gunk on my screen…

…but did I read correctly? You are staying in Germany? Bloody GERMANY? What about the holiday dessert party?? What about the wine parties? What about all of us who already miss you??

Doug, my mother got the news just as you did. Um, she was a bit more harsh.

Considering the rest of your message, I know you understood me. I would like to say that I have given all of this the extreme consideration that is due, but I haven’t. Instead, I am willing to trust that the decision overall is a good one and that the details will work themselves out. That’s how I got to DC, and I hope that it works for Berlin.

Still, I am not too foolish. Bills have to be paid, so if a summer’s study of German doesn’t create the opportunity for me to find meaningful employment, I will take the safe road, return to DC, work and, lol, raise money to return. At least, I hope that’s what I do. You are part of this great circle of people that has supported me (and kicked me in the ass) when I needed it. Those folks are hard to come by, and returning to DC might so remind me of that that I might never leave again.

In the meantime, why not Berlin? It’s beautiful, and so much of it is unknown to me that the daily act of just walking out my door is an immense discovery. I have many years of playing it safe behind me and no doubt plenty more to ease me into my grave. In between, yes, some risk is welcome!

To which, a poem that was given to me by Karin, in a period of despair over a man much loved. An ocean and many moons away.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

– Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

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