Musings on.....Life in Berlin

One of the things that I love most about my life in Berlin is sitting on my

balcony. So I sit here tonight wrapped in an old black coat that my

nephew Sam once told me looked like the fur of a teddy bear. I feel

warm and I feel quiet.

My street has some big leafy trees that finally now in early May are full

and green. These luxuriating boughs have something calm and floating

about them. I sit in my chair and experience a feeling of peace. The

building across the street is a deep purple brown color and my corner is

strangely quiet even though I am in the middle of the city. I look over

the tops of the trees at buildings that were built before the war and the

roof tops are filigree with stucco, arches and ovals that surround

windows and framed balconies. The neighbors have an assortment of

different flowerpots and trees and candles. People come out for a smoke

and talk in the twilight flicking their burning ashes. The air is fresh,

birds sing in celebration of the dusk and the coming of summer. Spring

brings them out as it brings out the leaves and the blooms that appear

gently over the metal holders that line the balconies. On the corner of

the building across the street, the face of a woman is looking out like on

the bow of a boat. Her regal nose and lips in profile like an Egyptian

statue or like the face on a totem pole. On top of the roof of the building

is a small cupola that almost looks byzantine and it has a light. Where

did this come from, this strange mixture of style and ornament. Low in

the distance I hear the hum of traffic but it is so soft that the sound of

the city is pleasant. A cacophony of birds singing and a distant

accelerating motorcycle mixes with voices that pour out of someone’s

television. It is city living but with something not like many other cities

that I know. It feels like a breeze that one feels in the country, a

freshness in the air.

This year I planted some lavender plants and when they are moved by

the wind or jostled as I walk by they let out their aroma. I don’t know

why this spot in my wicker chair that traveled here with me from

Bremen makes me so happy. I love a quiet night at home where I can let

my mind stop and regenerate for the activity of my daily life. Though

often torn between the need to be alone and the time that I must have to

let my body rest and the desire to be with people, I think that I love

these moments on the balcony because I feel whole here. I don’t mind

being at one or being just one in this moment. I dream, I think, I feel that

my creative battery charges. I have no pressure, to look at my computer

or listen to music. The city is my music and my muse. Inner peace is

hard to come by when running and moving. I had to learn how to do find

this, I had to discover the joy of this peace over years of traveling alone

for work. Being at home and having this is the ultimate luxury knowing

my books and paintings and the comfort of my own sofa and bed are

just through the door.

My voice has taught me to look for that calm. My voice demands that I

learn to be in the moment. My voice asks me to find myself and to be

true to myself. My voice requires that I be honest and this makes me

true when I am on the stage. Today I rehearsed for the revival of an

opera that I have not sung in years. This morning was a new role in the

opera that I never sang and when I made my entrance onto the stage the

director wanted me to have a moment where I take in where I am and

what it is like there.

Each day I would like life to be as that moment. Enter, look around,

smell, see and breathe. Berlin gives me this gift, Bremen gave it to me

before. Far from family and old friends, near to new friends and the

possibilities of a life not yet known. There is some fantasy awakened

and some hope that I feel lurking in the sounds that I allow my ears to

hear. A door closes, a buzzer rings and a car drives by. The neighbors

put their lights on where there was only a lonely candle 5 minutes ago.

Life goes on and I am part of it, sitting alone on my balcony with my

lavender and with the bark of the dog next door I know it is time to go


© · Fredrika Brillembourg