Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Change of Season

Last night I finished T.C. Boyle’s book, “Drop City” and shivered.

I’d read it pretty much straight through over the course of the last few days, since we returned from America and began to settle back into life here on the other side. The book is about community and identity and a number of other things, but it is also about settling in for a long, cold winter.

As August faded away and the first day of September announced itself with a bright, pounding thunderstorm I found myself reaching for my nylon jacket each time I left the apartment. It wasn’t particularly cold, but reading about coming winter in Alaska put a chill in me that was reinforced by the unpacking and folding and storing of things as mama sorted through our luggage and in the process put aside a large pile of things HH can no longer squeeze into, replacing them with clothing we collected for him over the summer in America and things he received for his birthday last week, which also falls at the end of summer. The activity in our rooms mirrored that in the book; taking stock of things, recognizing the change of season and preparing for it, all within the context of understanding community.

This journal has always been an attempt to understand community, the idea of home and where to find it, and the writing of it is helps me store the imprecise thoughts that come in the drowsy early morning or late at night or passing from dreams, and make some sense of them - an attempt at perspective. The occasions of leaving and arriving offer the strongest images, the most powerful contrasts and the points of the most dramatic realizations, not unlike the change of seasons when one is required to take notice of what has transpired and prepare for what lies ahead.

During the last few days we have had to readjust our clocks - the jet-lag this year was powerful – the only positive aspect of it being that I was awake most nights when the Democrats in Denver were giving their speeches and could follow them live. Watching the convention was a bridging process of sorts, between home in America and home here in Germany, between leaving the family and friends we spent our summer with in the Catskills and renewing our ties with those we have come to know here on Brüsseler Platz. Two birthday parties, a christening, a visit with Oma in the Eifel, another with HH’s beloved Aunts Ellen and Doris and the better part of Saturday setting my garden straight after a summer of neglect, and at the end of a week of getting back into the pace of life here, a recognition, that we are as much a part of this place as we ever were in New York – more perhaps.

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Blogger Ralph said...

Home in the U.S., home in Germany: it can be a win-win situation.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also live between two worlds – Germany and the US – but I don't get to go back to San Diego and my family as often as I would like. Each country has its positives and negatives and I love them both. Here I love to sit in cafes and talk with hours with friends in restaurants or hiking the local mountains. In California I know I'm forever bound there when I go to the beach. I dig in my toes in the sand and the feeling, a sort of exquisite agony that hits my nervous system like a brick, lets me know that I belong to that narrow strip of land on the edge of the US like no other place on earth.

Thanks for your writing. I've never read such beautiful words by a father about his son before. As I've read through the site the last couple days, it's reminded me of f Jonathan Safran Foer in his book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but in that case it's about a son writing about his deceased father. You could be the father he writes about.

Thanks, I'll be back.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Berlinbound said...


Yes - and thus far it has been just that.


Thank you for your visit and comment. I genuinely appreciate it and hope to see you back again. I spent some time in SoCal - a period in my life I have tried to write about but have not yet fully come to terms with.

More anon ...

4:56 PM  
Blogger Diane Mandy said...

Only into month 10 of my stint as an American expa in Germany and I, too, feel at home.

Welcome back!

4:04 PM  

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