Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Eifel

December 1

Update: Day Four of the four-week Intensive German Language Course. Yesterday I started getting lost.

This afternoon we move into the apartment in the Belgian Quarter in Koln and leave the Eifel countryside. When I returned from school yesterday His Holiness wanted to walk with me, so off we went, bundled up against the chill but happy for the late fall sun and clear sky. We are staying on a farm that has been in the family 400 years. It is a huge, rambling assembly of buildings, a mixture of half-timber and stucco and brick, with a central courtyard and barns long ago filled with cars, motorcycles, firewood and holiday decorations. Only one of the barns houses farm equipment and one of the younger cousins uses it to raise grain that is then sold to produce beer. The land surrounding the farm is green and alive with farm animals and tractors and people out walking with their dogs. Taking a walk (meaning Papa either carries him or pushes him in his stroller) is a favored pastime for His Holiness and yesterday he was in the mood for a long one. Everyone was out – we must have seen half a dozen dogs of various sizes and dispositions, sheep, horses, tractors, birds and in the distance, the city.
As we began making our way back home and his eyes began to close ever so softly, I pushed us up to the crest of a hill, into a stand of trees, a waldchen, I believe is the term in German. There are only 30 or 40 trees in the stand, but it is positioned at the highest point in the area and on a clear day you can see the Dom in Koln. Yesterday as the light turned from blue-gray to gold, we made our way along the short path and to the top of the hill. In all my years of travel I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautiful space. It reminded me of a patch of pastoral landscape from a Hudson River school painting, with a wash of Flemish light. It was a scene from imagined memory, a spot in the road where fairies and sprites abide, and where in such fleeting moments of perfect illumination, they become visible to believers.


Blogger piu piu said...

sounds amazing, i'm in portland an its raining!

6:49 PM  
Blogger VespaRosso said...

thanks for stopping in! Germany is such a rich country. Good luck with the language program and with getting settled in to your new home.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I need to get caught up on what you've been up to since you arrived. I hope to read it over the weekend, but just wanted to say thanks for coming by today.
Hugs to you.

12:36 AM  
Blogger J said...

Do tell us about your first week of German lessons and the people in your class. I loved my German classes mainly because it had people from all over the world.

9:05 AM  
Blogger christina said...

I too loved my German classes when I first came here. Lots of really nice people - most of them went back to where they came from, unfortunately, but one stayed and has remained a close friend over the years.

And did you manage to rustle up an Advent calendar?

9:48 PM  
Blogger Tania said...

Beautiful. It's astonishing how it happens, how a moment's beauty makes one feel as if one is standing in the polished memory of it, instead of right in the evaporating thick of it, right now.

You've commented on my blog and my friend Annie's blog, but I've only lurked on yours till now.

Good luck with your German classes! All the German I know comes from Kurt Weill songs, so unless there were pirate ships or bad love affairs to describe, I would be lost. "Du hast kein herz, Johnny / und ich liebe dich so..."

4:40 PM  
Blogger Chloe said...

good luck in everything new. i hope you have the best holiday season ever.

1:07 PM  
Blogger christina said...

Hope you're OK and that the move to the new apartment went well.

1:47 PM  
Blogger J said...

Either the internet hasn't made it to Cologne yet, or Deutsche Telekom is 'working its magic' in which case we may never hear from him again.

8:02 PM  

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