Tag Archives: trees

Unwelcome tristesse

There’s something about the first days and weeks of January that always throws me. The festivities of December past are exactly that, yet (in Berlin at least) the pavements are heavy with their reminder in the shape of discarded Christmas trees. Some 400,000 of them. 400,000! Which makes them equal in number to the entire tree stock of the city. I happen to know that, not because I am a wealth of random facts, but because I recently wrote a column for DW on the subject of Berliners and their trees.

To return to the Tannenbäume, as they are known locally. They will, in the shortness of time, be collected up and taken either to the city’s zoos where they serve as elephant breakfast or to cialis online a power station where recycled, they should provide 700 households with electricity and warm water for the next 12 months.

But until the trucks come to take them their respective ways, the trees lie on top of each other looking bare and so very sad. It is a sadness that all too often seems to be reflected in the faces of people out and about. It is as if the vibrancy of their excited wishes and hopes for the New Year, many expressed beside those now unwanted trees, have been packed away with the tinsel and baubles.

A couple of days ago, I wished someone a happy New Year, and his response was to look at me aghast. “New Year?” We were not two weeks into it at the time of the exchange, but already my words, the very sentiment, seemed – even sounded – outdated. The newness already forgotten as the grind of daily life reasserts itself as the matriarch and patriarch of society.

I have decided, as my grandfather might have flippantly said, to opt out. I plan to reign supreme over my 2013. To treat every day as if it were something new. Which of course, it is.

Category: Berlin, Christmas, Seasons | Tags: , ,

Dappy, happy or…

More years ago than seem real, I was spending the evening with friends in a Soho pub, when one of them said I was being “dappy”. Another told said friend that he’d be closer to the mark if he were to replace the “d” with an “h”. In terms of the letters themselves, there’s not much in it. Just a spin and a stroke. By the same token, the two states are no more than one degree apart.

I saw someone today who reminded me of that fine line. A man – late sixties – wearing big round glasses, headphones, and a bright red sweatshirt was part- running, part-dancing his way through the park, arms flailing and eyes smiling as he went. I watched people watch him with expressions suggestive of blandly imperceptive thoughts. They may, of course, have got the man’s measure, and he may have been utterly dappy, doolally even. But then again, they may have been way off.

From the outside: A man of advancing years, sporting the type of specs and headphones the cool kids wear, and running a strange jog-dance through the trees, waving his arms around as if he were trying to take off.

From the inside: Music flooding into his ears through the headphones his grandson left on his kitchen table. Bach. A chorus of angelic voices that, heard in the fresh cold of the park air, render him weightless, unwilling to bridle his joy, and unable to keep his body from expressing what he feels. He knows his glasses are out-of-date (and doesn’t know that in fact they are not), but he loves them because they were chosen for him very many years ago by the love of his life, the woman who is waiting for him to return home, to wash, change, and take her out to lunch on what happens to be their 49th wedding anniversary.

Dappy, happy, doolally or married for almost five decades… we see what we want to.