Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The daily return of my writing has broken already, a consequence of the snow no less. Heavy snowfall here two nights ago has left Berlin blanketed and pleasant once more. Temperatures are up, the streetsides are white, it is quieter and the nights bring a calm to the usually busy roads. I have not written nor published here, partly through distraction and partly because the blizzards interrupt the internet connection we borrow via our homemade antennae.

I walked by Malchower See yesterday, a ten minute amble from my front door. Without camera or video device, I instead took the cassette recorder and made recordings of my walk, the entire soundtrack punctuated by the heavy falling of my steps, boots against crisp unbroken paths and drifts of snow. The lake itself was silent, a foot of ice and snow resting upon it and holding it motionless, but the forests were alive as the sun warmed branches and the snow and ice fell to the ground with dramatic powdery descent. What is it to remember through sound, to document with ears and magnetic tape alone?

Alone, I walked slowly, paying attention to nothing much, but attuned to sounds more than vision. Bright red woodpeckers flitted amongst the trees, working out rhythms in pairs upon hollow trunks. Groups of deer could be heard moving, invisibly through distant undergrowth. Occasional sharp cracks would follow an uncareful step as I strayed across some ice-covered stream or inlet, placing my foot upon a weak structure that would move and sound a warning – one step back.

Beyond that, the day held little. Carrying on with perfunctory administrative exercises – balance transfers, budget closures, professional recommendations, I preferred to simply watch out the window at the snowfall and make plans. Perhaps more streams lie ahead, the move to the new house certainly awaits and to accompany this I hope unexpected diversions and renewed focus will collide.

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