I deeply enjoy the spare moments alone, without using them to come to a conclusion. I come home from long hot bike rides with the satisfaction of a happily spent hour, because I was completely alone with myself. My route takes me along the old road to the neighboring village, Neuenfelde (New fields), a road long forgotten since the new one was built, where the sun catches in the wheels and the summer air is thick and hot, and where shadows from the past do not mind the light. It ends at the dike in Neuenfelde and turns into a small path, overgrown and bumpy. But up there, on the crown of the dike, with its height of about four meters, you can see so far over the flat land, which spreads out in the late-afternoon light, that my heart fills with love for this country, which is so low, so flat, so even, that no one who was not born here can bear the weight of the sky above.
The dike: Protector against the river Elbe, which flows like liquid mercury on an august evening, but turns into a fierce animal only two months later, spitting foam at the dike during the october-storms, licking eagerly at the land as if it wanted to feast on the last harvest of apples left on the trees.
I leave the dike and turn into the little wood of the nature resort, swampy paths, so overgrown with stinging nettle that I burn my arms and legs, whiplashes of sharp pain, cooled by the wind of speed, but the shade of the huge trees is soft on my heated skin. Dragonflies keep me company, dashing along with my bike at the same speed, watching me with their many facetted-eyes, trying to figure out which of the many me’s they see is the real one. I have no satisfying answer for them.
The sun hits again when I come out of the woods at the gravel road lining the private airport of German Aerospace and crossing the western cattlegrounds. I was only fourteen when this my kingdom. I still feel the chill, now, 16 years later. The vision flickers in the light of another memory, the huge bonfire at Easter earlier that year, the smell of which I will always associate with freedom and the bitterness of it, but that is another story…
The last stretch of the route is along the old farmhouses in my neighborhood, who seem to sleep like huge cats together with their elderly owners, dozing away in the boredom of old-age. I sometimes stop and steal a plum from the trees at the curve from which I can see the house where I grew up in at the other side of the orchard. And when I turn into my yard I know that this is where I want to live, that this land is where I draw my strength from, but I still have made no decision, still the answer I wanted to come up with when I left the house is hidden in blurred clouds lingering on the horizon. And somehow I know that it is not important. There is a deeper song to which to dance one’s life to.