My schedule is always challenging, both personal and professional. Especially with so many complications involving bureaucracy, health, family, finances, if I choose to assess myself, I find I’m often exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. But I’ve always been a person who told myself, whatever happens, “You can make it.” That simple statement is my life and personal philosophy. Just keep going. I’ve been fortunate to find brothers who understand and help me, just as with anything they need, I am there.
Thursday I had plans to meeting one of them, Quentin Pipestem and his visiting son, at Alexanderplatz here in Berlin. I had an hour a more from the time I finished work at Maria, and when they’d contact me. So instead of taking a tram, which would mean minutes from point A to point B, I decided to walk there. I was tired from chronic lack of sleep, and as always my feet hurt, so with every step, there is that constant awareness. I admitted to myself I would have liked to go home and rest, but being really honest with myself, even if I bowed out of the meeting, I wouldn’t rest when I went home. So I went on.
I’d lived in this neighborhood years ago with my son. We’d walked this path along Prenzlauer Allee a number of times, especially in that the time we were there, the public transit system was on strike, so we did a lot more walking then than we might ordinarily have. However with that added element, we had never explored, because we were always concerned with getting from here to there. So, coming upon an iron gated fence that was open to the public, with a cobbled narrow lane leading into lush greenery, I decided to take a detour.
The next forty minutes or so, I wasn’t aware of my feet hurting. I breathed deeper. The tightness through my shoulders relaxed, my heartbeat slowed. For within the heart of Mitte, I found a peaceful oasis of overgrown paths and dense brush in some places, and carefully, loving and poignantly maintained gardens and gravestones in others.
I’ve always been drawn to cemetaries, not for any morbid reason, but because they are usually deserted, have a strange kind of beauty in their statues and stone carvings, and reading of people who have passed on, of all ages, makes me wonder of their lives, their loves, their hopes and disappointments and triumphs. It inspires both imagination and cognizance of reality.
As I walked, pausing here and there, checking angles for photography, I couldn’t help but think of books like “Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil” and films like “Interview With A Vampire” is the cemetary where Louis was “made” and how the statues seemed to come alive. Of masterpieces like “Howard’s End“, when Mrs. Wilcox strolled through the twilit gardens during the opening scene. Thus I strolled through the Neu Kirchenhof von St. Nikolai and St. Marien and reawakened, returning to a special awareness of life through a place of gathered death.
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