This is the Golden Country

“Isn’t there a stream somewhere here?” he whispered.

Whenever I feel the darkness creeping around my heart during the daily drudge to work or the Uni, waiting in long lines for things I don’t want to do anyway, taking much longer showers than necessary, I go back to my books. Not the esoteric considerations about life, the universe, and everything (which really could have just been summed up with the number 42), but the narratives which always hold a truth and require a bit more work and provide a bit more reward than the halfway satisfying constant streams of Netflix.

Currently, I’m reading George Orwell’s 1984 with my students, and beyond being able to comment on politics without worrying about freedom of a speech or lack thereof, I’m just inspired by Orwell as a writer and find myself nodding at his aphorisms about language and politics and how those who control language control thought- but that’s a set of contemplation for another day and context. Mostly relevant for now are the descriptions of the Winston Smith’s childhood/dream landscape that just fit so well for the golden country my brother and I visited a little while ago. If you’re ever looking for something to do in Berlin that’s not being a tourist in the city, take your bikes and head to the outer rims of the S-Bahn service.

In the middle of October, the weather in Berlin went from winter coats and wool socks to shorts and tee shirts for a day. Forecast for almost a week, there was an air of anticipation in all my interactions with people. Feeling inspired, my bro and I took our beat-up Brandenburg bike-tour book and bikes and went exploring. In retrospect, it’s a good thing we took advantage of the opportunity before the semester started. The commute to the start point of the ride and then back home was almost an hour. Now, I don’t know if I could have kept calm “losing” so much time- but that’s an issue I’m working on.

At any rate, we took our bikes on the S-bahn without trouble, paying a small price for the bikes on top of our normal public transport ticket, and got out at the almost last stop in the south-east of Berlin: Koenigs Wusterhausen coming across the most quaint town where the streets are named after Russian writers and playwrights, and it didn’t take long for us to get to Schloss Koenigs Wusterhausen where the young Friedrich the Great saw his best friend executed after they had both tried to run away from the strict rule of the Soldier King. After being in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Europe for over a year now, it was a bit of a shock to walk our bikes on narrow, cobblestone-stoned streets and the small two story houses of the Middle Ages. Granted, there are still quite a few areas directly in Berlin like this, but usually they are bordered by ultra modern buildings and shopping houses. The shining sun was also a bit of a shock to the system, which added to the dreamlike feeling of being here.

IMG_20171015_140743

there was a pottery market happening, so we didn’t linger long

The tour was called “Along the Notte Canal” (in German of course) and took us all along the canal. To our left was farming and pasture land and to the right a broad stream framed by trees that were taking one last chance to show off their colors before they would lose their leaves.

I won’t go through the whole tour in words with you, but I feel inclined to describe the feeling of awe and contentment at seeing the beauty- in both nature and old small town architecture- around me.

I also can’t forget to say that we spent about 4 kilometers being lost because we confused a pond for a lake and that the last part turned into an obstacle course as we navigated around the trees knocked down by two strong storms in just as many weeks.

My brother, the better photographer and with the better camera took the pictures that bring a bit of that pleasant late summer warmth to my heart as I hope they may to yours as well.

As a sort of update, I’ve entered a new phase of my life and been forced to spend less time on WordPress and more time looking at other words. It used to be that even if I didn’t post often, I could at least interact with the community a good amount. Now? I have reading lists of 8-10 texts a week and I’m glad if I can halfway read three-quarters of them…and let’s not talk about writing ;-). However, I’m not complaining and this isn’t an excuse; I’m just stating the current situation. I’m taking a golden opportunity to bring some October sunlight into gray November thoughts, and I’ll continue to use the opportunities as they come to write and interact. I’ve been on WordPress rather constantly for three years now, and it has been and continues to be a great virtual space to visit when I feel like I’ve got something to share and have the brain space free to read about opinions and experiences that aren’t my own.

Hope the holiday season starts well for you and too see you again soon!

Cheers, Dorothea

9 comments

  1. Thanks for the post. In the early 1990s, still shortly after reunification, I spent a week in Zeuthen, which is close to Königs-Wusterhausen. It was also then for me a travel back in time. Thanks for brining these memories back.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I re-read Orwell’s 1984 this spring, it was not the same without the involvement of in class discussion that we had about it in class, during the early 70’s in high school. However, it eerily has many things that we need to think about in today’s world, although it was written when the world was much different – or was it really? I don’t believe that technology has changed us all that much from those previous eras – yet.

    The photos are of a different time and an older world than I have seen or been surrounded by. The vibe just in the photos are different than they are here, maybe I am imagining things, but I think not.

    Things ebb and flow in life and for a bit, you have other demands on your time. Keep your interests close and make time for yourself even if there doesn’t seem to be any available – there is always time for you – if you make it a priority. Take it from an old fart that if you do not do it, you will look back with regrets and fewer memories to take with you.

    Enjoy the gifts you have been given and the opportunities in a different culture to embrace as much of it as you can – which I have a feeling you are doing better than you think. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right on every account (I think people haven’t really changed too much, but I think we’ll catch up with the changes in technology soon enough). It’s weird how many parallels there are- double-screens, devices that can pick up our words… but at least we still live relatively free democracies and don’t have to worry about the words we say in our sleep.
      Thanks for the note about taking time for me. I will try! And yeah, I am doing pretty well and grateful for it all!

      Like

  3. Lovely pictures! I always like reading about your touring adventures… it expands my world, 😃.

    Life gets busy sometimes and things change. I’ll still be here when you have something to share… and of course, ever so thankful that you’re only an email away, 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

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