Whatever the true purpose of the universe is for sending me to Berlin in 2017, one of the blessings I have come to embrace wholeheartedly is the reconciliation with a city I used to abhor. It is no secret among my friends and loved ones that between 2001 and 2006 I was absolutely miserable in Berlin, and hated the bone-chilling winters with nordic winds that blast the soul from every good intention in your body.
Fastforward to 2021, and I find myself being utterly charmed by winter wonderland and actually smiling while stomping through the snow to the bus stop. I have every reason to be resentful of the bitter cold this year, but let me share a few reasons that made me smile:
The river that flows in front of our building, (or behind, depending on how you look at it), is the Havel, and this is the first year I have experienced it this frozen and buried under snow. The river fowl is most disgruntled, but the photographer in me benefits from it all. Just look at these grounded cormorants!
Somehow the current conditions are reflective our our lives at the moment – everything has come to a standstill, and even the animals are commiserating with us. They could have been happily floating along the river like they love to do, or chatting away in some tree, instead, the ice and snow have rendered them feathered river gargoyles.
We are in a bizarre frozen suspended animation waiting for things to thaw. But there is always a hidden treasure tucked away in some little corner to make us smile. I woke up to dense fog this morning and cold barely see the large tree outside the window, but once I pulled myself together and let the fresh air in, I was greeted by the grounded birds, and that made me smile. Silver linings, always a lifeline to sanity – we just have to learn to recognise them.