House-arrest and Winter Blues

The stubborn Berliner winter that simply refuses to pack its bags and move away finally caught up with me. I thought I had managed to sail through January and February unscathed by indulging in extra doses of Vitamin C and adhering to the onion principle of clothing. But last week the first telltale sneezes escaped, and by Thursday night I was running a fever when I got home from work. The next day I was engaged in a very intimate relationship with the tissues, the bathroom and the blanket, and felt absolutely dreadful. But Tuesday I dragged my sorry self to the doctor, who placed me under house arrest for a week, issued the medical certificate, and sent me home under strict orders to rest, take my medicines, drink two litres of water a day, and do inhalation.

Winter hasn’t left! ©MTHerzog

I don’t like being sick in general, but being alone and sick is even worse. Thank goodness for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video! My feline housemates have been very supportive and understanding, although Kessy doesn’t appreciate my coughing. It scares her, so she has taken up residency in the living room for the time being, whereas Champagne has stuck faithfully by my side. I suppose this is my penitence for Lent, forced contemplative time and meditative silence. In the past, this is the time I would have been off at some retreat and probably fasting. This year everything is different in my life, and the fasting I have embarked on is an emotional one, since the body has already undergone so much suffering lately.

Being stuck at home is actually a treat of sorts for me, even though I am weak, sleep deprived, and have no appetite. I got to catch up on my laundry and cleaning (yes, I know, I am supposed to be resting), and the cats are thrilled to have me around all the time instead of just the morning and evening. More importantly, I am actually glad to have been told to stay home this week in particular, when the fickle Berlin weather decided to withdraw all signs of spring and replace it with snow, sleet and rain. The bursts of sunshine have been few and far between, allowing the dismal grey clouds to lord it over the city and usher in bad moods, depression and sadness. Even the water fowl on the river were taken aback the other day when the snow came down heavily. They had just started to enjoy the river again after the top layer of ice finally melted. The river coots seemed to stage a mass protest and squawked simultaneously, and a couple of geese also joined in for good measure. In spite of my miserable state, I had to laugh when I witnessed two ducks fly by in such a hurry as the snow fall became heavier. Flying ducks in a hurry are anything but elegant.

The farmer who delivers my weekly fruits and vegetables rushed in from the snow yesterday and I commiserated them for having to be out in such dreadful weather. But in true Brandenburger form the answer was “I love this weather, it’s beautiful!” and I just had to shake my head in bewilderment as I put away the practically frozen apples and oranges. My friends in India, Myanmar, and the Philippines are already wailing about the Asian summer temperatures in the 30s and here we are still struggling with winter.

Rumour has it that we will have a prolonged spring, no summer, and skip right into Autumn this year. Considering Berlin’s track record, I can believe that. I don’t really care what the temperatures turn out to be, as long as I have sunshine. That’s all I ask. And so do the cats.

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