-A reportage in 5 parts about a bicycle tour through Germany – June 2007-
– 5 –
Trains, snails, and power plants
Deutschland on my mind.
There are a number of nuclear power plants in Germany. I was young and rebellious when I was one of those who threw stones and demonstrated on the streets when this one was built in the late 60s. Today it feels quite wonderful to see these ugly machines at the end of their short episode in our history. They will not be renovated in Germany and shut down without replacement in the near future, I hear. Over all, I think it was a reasonable struggle for a feasible solution, and what “we” once said prevailed in the end.
There is an old tale about a guy who once managed to rid the town of rats by making them follow him, playing a mesmerizing tune on his flute. The town’s people thought that was great but hesitated to pay him for the service, so he played his magical music again and this time all the children of the town followed him. I don’t quite remember how it ended.
Many, many famous scientists have lived and studied here.
Up in the sky in the stratosphere over the ice of Greenland we could not sit any longer and I found the pantry in the rear of the airplane empty, and I took Parvin and danced with her. (We had recently relearned from a DVD how to dance the waltz) Dancing in an airplane – also something we had never done before!
* * * *
by Klaus Kommoss
Coming home is such a funny thing:
The mysterious thrill of familiarity.
It is the dream of security and reliability,
competing with reality throughout our lives.
If we listened to our heart
we could feel at home wherever we are,
but against the faint, silken whisper of wisdom
we only trust what we already know.
Home is where Self lives
in a house with mirrors as walls.
It is a concept we never stop to make up
in our eternally yearning mind.
It is our beloved, self-made prison
we immediately begin to construct
wherever we stop and remain for more than a few breaths.
It is that wonderful luring illusion,
as fleeting and arbitrary as a wave on the ocean,
something we grasp and cling to
in a world that is ceaselessly changing.
— == * == —
Deutschland on my mind
Germany was always on my mind in those long years when I roamed the globe. But after 20 years I’m not the same any more. I once left for reasons apparently too complicated to fully recall, and somebody else now returned.
In a peculiar way it’s almost a relief to feel this. A mess of unfinished business may have remained for the one who once left, however, the one who returned is a new person, a free man, maybe no person at all.
I remember the intensity of my feelings when I left, but I barely remember the content of these feelings. Usually we must give up something to make room for the new, and we typically can see what we are giving up much more clearly than what we are getting. In hindsight it’s the other way round, so why bother?
Germany was always on my mind. I did not forget it, but in all those years I also learned to not really believe everything I think and rather pay attention to what is actually happening.
Did I go home or did I come from home? I really don’t know. And once again I see I don’t need to know. The wonderful relief at the end of the great search. Life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived. Oh, we do create stories, constructing our legacy, we write our story with heart blood every day, but it’s just a story. Paying attention is all it takes, being present while it all happens and not getting lost in that story. Knowing is always related to the past and therefore it binds us to the past. Unlike knowing, understanding is not a conclusion, not accumulation. Understanding is attention.
What is home? What is belonging, what is purpose? Gigantic ideas. Not that they don’t matter; people strap bombs around themselves and blow to pieces what they find so important. I still believe that what we call success is not measured by what we are driven to achieve but by what we can quietly understand.
Germany was always on my mind. It makes a great line for a love song, doesn’t it? It’s still on my mind, and how could it not? The thing is, I know my mind a little better now. Did I ever expect to review my past in a new language? What a joke it all is – what a miracle!
— — —
by Klaus Kommoss
I know how to pay attention,
every child can do it.
It’s a lot easier once we let go of the big agendas.
I know how to stroll through this world,
not against but for surprise.
That’s what I’ve been doing in all those years.
What else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything come and go by itself ?
What could I have possibly added to this miracle
but wholehearted attention?
Is there really anything else we can do
with this one wild and precious life?
* * * * *
Der Versuch, die Eindrücke unserer Reise hier etwas distanziert zu beschreiben, mag vielleicht ein Weg sein, einen authentischen Anknüpfungspunkt zu finden.
We left the blue upright-tandem in Europe for other future adventures, back home now we ride our recumbent-tandem again:
Klaus July 4. Independence Day in USA, our new home.