And Gutenberg Lived Here: Be Still My Soul

It’s still here.

Too Still.

The people go about their work,

but waiting.

With an incredible unnatural quiet.




On Sunday, the churches were filled.

And the usual one hour walk through the city,

Or the hour of pre-lunch “stammtisch,”

one quick drink in a pub,

and heated political discussion,

with friends you have known since you started school,

was strangely muted.

Just shaken heads,

and “Not again.”


“Are they crazy?”

Even the usual heated political analysis that follows everything

from a discussion of whether we should tax the use of superhighways,

to the political game-playing of the local football bosses,

was still.

Hushed by mutual agreement.

“Not the right time” said one.

“Maybe next week” said a second.

The rest of the nation is glued to the news.

Or deliberately boycotting it.

Because watching the situation develop,

and then discussing it with friends,

is just too difficult.

Even the phone ringing-

friends for whom I am the only American they know,

and they want an opinion.


Has forced me into my book-lined den

while my husband handles phone duty.

We spent yesterday making travel plans-

we may or may not keep.

A show of light.

And defiance.

From: There’s a conference late spring.


Can we even go to the Christmas market this year?

Or can we travel to his family on the train if there is too much snow?

Ridiculous thoughts, until you realize how close Paris is-

A friend in London made the comment that they haven’t even got armed police, like here on the continent.

A friend in Spain says they are very worried. Bad economy, unhappy people, and now this.

At the moment, everyone here is handling it in the time-old fashion.

A rap on the table with the knuckles as you stand,

a quick “so what’s to do”

Followed by:

“Till next week, Hans.”

“Take care, Helmut.”

History is the common glue here.

Personal history.

Local history.

Or even kinship and clan, in a country where one mile down the road is a vastly different language and culture.

Oh, and of course, religion,

in a culture where, when the Duke, or King, or Kaiser, changed religion, you knocked the whitewash off the walls, replastered, and blessed it in the new belief.

Survival has always been on the basis of who you know and who you went to kindergarten with.

Is it changing?




Should it?

Not my decision.

Will it eventually?

Time will tell.

Until then, we wait.

And pray.

And look for moments of light and happiness.

And until they accumulate again enough to become daily reality,

It is still.







Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s