My “Ehrenrunde” in Berlin

The past days have been grey, cold, cloudy and windy in Berlin as the last aftereffects of the three hurricanes that blasted through the nation make a gracious exit. It was enough to damper all spirits, but today, on my final day in Berlin, the skies cleared and I was given a priceless farewell by the city I called home for the past five years.

I’m on an adrenalin high at the moment, running on empty to the extent that my body is oblivious to food. Inspired by that John Denver classic,

All bags are packed,
I’m ready to go,
I’m standing here confused in the living room
I hate to open another closet and pull out more
but the drawers are emptied,
the sun is setting,
the cats are hungry and throwing a tantrum
already I’m so stressed I could crash.

So read me and be happy for me
Tell me that I’m not crazy at all
Help me close the Berlin chapter for good
’cause I’m leaving on a jet plane
Not sure when I’ll be in Berlin again
Oh Lisbon here I come!

I’ve wrapped up things
Nothing else fits
The desk is neat and the cabinet empty
My thoughts are racing like an Energizer rabbit
As I stared at the luggage,
it occurred to me
that either I seriously overlooked something
So I went through the drawers one more time.

So read me and be happy for me
Tell me that I’m not crazy at all
Help me close the Berlin chapter once and for all
’cause I’m leaving on a jet plane
Not sure when I’ll be in Berlin again
Oh Lisbon here I come!

Crazy song aside, the first horrible discovery was that I indeed not Hermione Granger with a magic bag and endless capacity. In fact, I never felt more like Ron Weasley, so scatterbrained that I completely skipped the underwear department. Yikes! I understand I am moving to warmer climates but not that warm! The second discovery was even more alarming. Lolita and I sat on the sofa and surveyed the mess, both of us lost in our own worlds. I still couldn’t figure out why my hand carry was so ridiculously empty… until it hit me: no camera equipment. Shit. Ah, the crucial moment had arrived: what do I take with me and what can I afford to leave behind and do without for the next six weeks or so? It took me all of three minutes before I berated myself for even asking. Of course it’s a no-brainer, the Fujifilm flies, the Canon can continue its hibernation.

In the afternoon I ventured out with my daughter to get my pre-departure COVID test. While walking along my beloved path that was my daily route to work for a while, it occurred to me this was my final walk on this route, my Ehrenrunde, or lap of honour as it referred to here. And look at the manner in which the Berliner skies bid me farewell (these photographs are 100% unedited):

Ehrenrunde I ©FrogDiva Photography
Ehrenrunde II ©FrogDiva Photography
Ehrenrunde III ©FrogDiva Photography

There is a 1987 movie called Die Himmel Über Berlin, (which literally means the sky over Berlin) and the English title is Wings of Desire. When I left Berlin in 2006, one the farewell gifts I was given was a DVD of this movie, with the message to always remember the sky over Berlin and the memories collected beneath it. Strangely enough, I never bothered to look up the English title until this evening, which is eerily close to the title of my book, Wings At Dawn. What are the odds? Well, once again, the Berliner sky put its best foot forward and regaled us with this drama, especially on the way home. That last shot is priceless because normally that water is the murky swamp of the local buffalo.

I’m feeling blessed and calm. No fears, no regrets. My Ehrenrunde was as poetic as it could be.


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