Herman Hesse

…is one of my favorites, as far as german literature is concerned.

This is one of my favorite of his poems, for some reason, the english version is called “stages” whereas the original german version is titled “Steps” (as in stairs), so I’ve taken some liberties with the translation I found online, which, IMHO, does neither the beauty nor the sense of Hesse’s lyric justice).

Herman Hesse: Steps

As every flower fades and as all youth
Yields to age, each step of life blossoms.
Every wisdom and every virtue blossom
in their day and may not last forever.
Since life may summon us at every age
Be ready, heart, for parting and for new endeavors,
Be ready bravely and without remorse
To welcome other, – new ties.
In all beginnings dwells a magical force
Which guards us and helps us live.

Serenely let us move from room to room,
And let no sentiments of home detain us.
The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us
But lifts us step by step to wider spaces.
Once we’ve become native in our circle of life,
Familiar habit makes for indolence.
Only those prepared for departure and journey
Can free themselves from paralyzing familiarization.

Even the hour of our death may send
Us speeding on to newer spaces,
Life’s summons to us will never end.
So be it, heart: bid farewell without end.

Goodbye, Grandpa C

Because he passed away today, on his 92nd Birthday, I am reposting from last year.
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When I met you in 1972 (at the tender age of 9 years), I thought you were pretty scary. I was impressed by the sonorous voice with which you expressed your opinion on everything and anyone from the easy chair which you occupied as though it were a throne.

I soon learned that, at least as far as we kids were concerned, your voice was much more bark than bite.

One of my fondest memories is of sitting with you in one of those summers in the early ’70s, watching Judge Sirica preside over the Watergate hearings, accompanied by your critical and sometimes very funny running commentary. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I think that those times spent with you played a fundamental role in my interest in politics as an adult.

I remember your garden, your compost, you growing tomatoes and corn in the backyard.

I will never forget the refuge you and Grandma C. gave me when I fled my first marriage. I was overwhelmed and deeply moved by your protective instincts when you offered to “lock this house down like Fort Knox if you want me to” when that husband was about to make an appearance. I also remember the trust you placed in me when you loaned me the money for a transatlantic flight home.

Thank you for everything, Grandpa C.
There is a big place in my heart for you.

Rest in peace.

All is in Butter

That’s a literal translation of a german saying which means “everything is fine”. It sounds kind of funny in english.

But seriously, at the moment my blog appears to be morphing into a “Friday” blog, due mainly to my complete lack of inspiration on all fronts. I’ve not found anything funny on the internet lately, either, quite the opposite. All in all, it has been a shattering week in terms of world news and I just want to go hide under the bed for the time being.

Makes me unterstand the hordes of people playing PokemonGo though, it’s an escape of sorts, I guess. Then again, those videos of large crowds of players in Central Park make me think of scenes from “The Walking Dead”.

Time Flies

No, I didn’t fall down a rabbit hole. In between everything else that’s whacky at the moment, there seems to be a problem with the battery on my (relatively) new laptop (it refuses to charge, now and then), and after a phone call to the manufacturer, it has now been sent in for servicing, which can take up to 10 days. Thus, I spent a lot of time this week setting up an old laptop for use during the gap, and removing all relevant data off of the laptop being sent in.

Going from what is essentially an ultrabook back to a very old laptop with a huge 17″ display is a bit of an experience though – I feel like I have a brick resting on my lap.

That said, it’s been a busy and sad week, with all that’s been going on in the world.

An event during a spontaneous visit to my favorite beer garden yesterday evening has further unsettled my world. There were 8 or nine middle-aged bavarian men sitting at the adjacent table. Two of them ordered hot chocolate. At the beer garden. On a warm summer evening. Go figure.

At least they weren’t playing Pokemon Go.

Egg Experiments

I love the internet for a million different reasons. It is full of useful things, funny things, appalling things. I love the fact that whenever I get curious about anything, I can just use a search engine to glean more information. I am not sure how we ever managed without it.

I recently read a somewhat odd but entertaining novel, in which the main character tells about “floating silver eggs in water” and I got curious as to whether it is indeed possible to make an egg float in the middle of water and have it appear silver.

My searching got me to this site, which is extremely interesting, IMHO, and which will enlighten you about all KINDS of ways to experiment with eggs.

And yes, I’m planning to try the “Floating Eggs” experiment in conjunction with the “Silver Egg” experiment. I’ll take some pictures, if it works.

C’est la vie

I was just taking a tea break in the sun by the pond, when a lot of commotion broke out in the large fig tree that is adjacent to the pond.

I didn’t pay much attention, figuring that a couple of sparrows or chickadees were fighting (which occurs, on occasion). When I turned to have a good look, a sparrow hawk emerged from the fig, sat in the grass for a moment, grasping what appeared to be a sparrow in his claws and then swiftly took flight.

A year ago, I would have been angry about this. Meanwhile, I’ve rethought my position. First of all, I’d rather a hungry sparrow hawk gets one of the birds in the garden than an overfed housecat who is just looking for the fun of the kill; second, it’s just the way of nature.

Exhausted

I should probably just stop watching tournament soccer matches, I think I’m getting too old for the excitement and suspense of it all.

Knowing that Germany has NEVER managed to beat Italy in a European nor World Cup tournament, I sat down to watch the game with an uneasy feeling in my stomach.

“Suffering” through 120 minutes of fast, suspenseful and brilliant soccer, followed by extended penalty shooting, kept me on the edge of my seat and up  well past midnight, and probably gave me a few gray hairs in the process. But it was worth it, as Germany managed to finally “break” the “curse of Italy”.

Tonight’s game is Iceland-France, and yes, I’ll be watching and cheering for Iceland.

Good thing this tournament will be over soon.

Golden Shoes

For weeks, I’ve been meaning to get out and purchase a couple of new pairs of ballerinas, my summer shoe of choice, as my old ones all look relatively battered and worn. Living in a rural setting, the nearest large shoe store is 20 km away, and in light of the fact that our summer, which up to now has consisted of 1-2 days of nice followed by 1-3 days of rain, I just couldn’t be bothered to make the trip, having to wear socks every other day anyhow.

Last week I did make a trip to the garden center for bird and fish food, and for some inexplicable reason, there was a rack of two lonely pairs of shoes, marked down to 2 €. The other remaining pair had a nicer color, but were a size too large, so I ignored the color and grabbed these:

goldenshoes

Ok, so they make me feel like one of those bangled jewelry wearing grandmothers who spend their winters in Florida.

I don’t care.