The RainFreiburg, Spring 2012

And then the bad weather would come.

Hemingway wrote that single brilliant sentence  while he was living in near starvation in Paris in the early 1900’s; spending most of his time scribbling his stories in notebooks and meeting with other literary greats like Fitzgerald, or Gertrude Stein. Hemingway described Paris as “a moveable feast” and that statement became the title of his novel documenting his time as a young and unknown writer.

But I’m not writing about Hemingway here. I’m writing about the weather. And this, friends, is the kind of weather Hemingway was talking about.

Spring popped last week with an intensity I can’t recall. I believe I woke up one day and suddenly there were leaves on the massive sycamore trees lining the Vaubanallee behind my apartment. Such growth follows a progression that expands and covers everything. The rolling hills of the Black Forest are green and new life is creeping into the vines in the vineyards. But such beauty comes in silence and suddenly it’s standing right in front of you and it grabs you by the shoulders, stares into your eyes and says slow down. It’s impossible to ignore a message like that, so now here I am, coasting along on my balcony while the rain drenches the grass and buildings. The cranes at the nearby construction site have stopped working and now the only sound that sweeps through the morning is the wind, the rain and the pigeons. The sound of wind and rain on new leaves brings clarity and has an enormously calming effect on this dreary Saturday morning. It is cleansing and pure in every sense of the word.

Only Freiburg could offer this kind of profound stillness.

It’s reassuring to think that I would probably be doing the same thing if I were at home in Vermont or Ithaca right now; simply sitting and listening to the rain while pulling my hair out over some piece of writing in progress. My settings have been in flux since February yet I’m still occupied and content with my habits and quirks. It all circles back to that “sense of place” idea that I’ve based much of my thinking during this adventure of a lifetime. My time here is about half over and my to-do list requires much more time. But I suppose that’s always the case. Time moves and slips like grains of sand. The only thing you can do is hope you’ve got your toothbrush when it drops you someplace. And for now, that place happens to be Freiburg. Good. Great. Now someone please get me another cup of tea.

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