joulukuuta 16, 2007

letters in procession

Oh, happy Sundays. To stay in bed until you’ve nearly slept around the clock. Sit in the breakfast table with a large mug of hot chocolate, reading a good book, knowing that there is no hurry to go anywhere, to do anything.

It is not often one can reach that feeling. In fact it is only when you know that there are more of those same kinds of mornings just around the corner. It is in essence a holiday feeling.

On a regular Sunday the shadow of the Monday is always there lurking, the weight of the coming week is hiding behind your back, breathing shallowly. It is invisible, yet its urgent, hissing whispers are never far from your ear: “Enjoy now, only eighteen hours left, then it is time to work again, enjoy now!” and of course it is impossible to totally relax when you know that these few hours are laden with so much. Should be laden with so much. So you squander them away, forcing yourself to relax when you can’t force relaxation, unhappy if you haven’t done anything, unhappy if you have filled your time with activities and not stopped to have a breather.

Holidays are different. The memory of a happy mortal is short and for a while it is possible to convince oneself that this is all there is. The days follow each other in quiet procession, unhurriedly, undemanding, inviting you to just be. To sit in the breakfast table with a big mug of cocoa and enjoy a great book. To lay back in a swing on a summer evening and stare out at the lake, be one with the nature around you. Then the time stops and the future ceases with its meddling hushing and goading. You just are and the universe for once moves in step with you.

The sun is shining. It was shining most of yesterday as well as I went to Heidelberg. I went with my rucksack filled with a couple of books, a magazine, water bottle and mandarins, something warm to wear and money to spend. I was at the station early again and so I bought yet another book to take with me. I have been spending money on myself these past couple of days; sitting in cafés, buying books and a set of candles and those sticks you burn to see little wisps of smoke swirl around you and to luxuriate in the heady aromas. Such a wonderful fragrance.

My bookshelves at home are quite filled with books, but usually I only buy what I can get cheap. I do not like parting with my money and since libraries have been invented, it always feels a bit sacrilegious to give 15 euros for something that you read once and then abandon on a shelf. That is a method, which either leaves you dependent on book sales or means that you end up with a motley collection of authors, some good, some bad, some in-between. Yesterday, however, I decided to be bold and gave out 14 euros for a copy of Bill Bryson’s work. I read it on my way to Heidelberg and back, in the U-Bahns and in bed where I found my way right after having come back home. I read it in the breakfast table with a nice cup of chocolate.

Occasionally one comes across people who click. They say little things and you say “aaww, exactly so!” and smile and the universe seems a little friendlier place. Occasionally, ever so rarely, this happens in real life and you feel that someone is really able to understand you. More often it happens through books or lyrics of music and then your heart fills up and you feel a connection to human kind.

I do love books. (and music)

Thank you, Bill Bryson. (and Till Lindemann and Maija Vilkkumaa)

These cities that I have visited will probably end up being a collection of old castles and Roman ruins, parks and books to me. Mainz was the Drusus stone up in the hills, Wetzlar the old fortification ruins and Simone de Beauvoir, Darmstadt still Beauvoir and the big park, Marburg the wonderful medieval city and the imposing castle with a lovely little café up in the hill. And writing, Marburg wasn’t about reading, but writing. Heidelberg will also be a castle, half ruined, half operational, with lots of Japanese tourists and entrance fees to all possible places. Currywurst and Apfelstrudel. Sunshine, cold wind, a Christmas fair and hungry, grinning donkeys behind a wooden fence. And Bill Bryson and realising that I’m not the only one who dislikes parting with money or prefers peace and quiet to the noisiness of the modern age. Or wonders at the questionable pleasures of shopping or the crazy ideas of the architects of the 60’s and 70’s.

Smoke is beautiful. It makes little tunnels in the air, tiny tornadoes and twists into spirals, which end up in nothingness. Like Greek columns. Like time.

This is a beautiful morning.

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