On this quiet sunny 1st of May morning, before breakfast, I took a long walk alone (Sabine is away in Brussels, seeing an old girlfriend). It is a holiday and people are still asleep - many have spent an extended evening partying, drinking lots of beer, and stealing birches. They have a strange custom here in Germany, and I think especially here in the Rhine area - young men gather to cut birch trees, decorate them with colorful ribbons, and set them up in front of the houses of young women; part of the fun is that other young men try to steal these birch trees in the night.
The meadows were colored bright yellow with millions of dandelions (called "Lion's Teeth" here for some reason), interspersed with the subtle pink of cuckoo flowers ... and all the birds were singing.
At one point, a song thrush sang its loud and exquisite song very near to me for a minute or two. I love those thrush songs a lot (as readers of this blog might remember) - they are somewhat similar to nightingale songs but they use more repetitions, so for most of the complex fast short patterns they sing, there is a good chance to hear them several times.
Listening to a song thrush from so near was quite an experience. The beauty was a bit overwhelming - it seemed to blast through my heart like a very loud and uplifting rock concert.
How wonderful to be able to walk through this beauty, to feel the touch of the sacred ... then my path led me into the village again and there was something even more overwhelming: the smell of fresh coffee coming from the houses where people were getting up ... oh yes: breakfast!!!
The Hands Of Mike Ratledge XIX
3 days ago