Springtime (un)like any other

Yesterday, Klaus and I worked in the garden, removing unwanted grass, weeds and nine washed concrete slabs that were buried underneath our veg patch. We’re finally able to enjoy a couple of sunny days after what felt like weeks of grey, wet, and stormy weather. Northern Germany has seen more than three times the usual amount of rain in February and was battered by four heavy storms in the course of less than four weeks.

This is my patch just outside the house where we started growing beans, cabbage, cucumbers and some other things last year.

Luckily, our house and belongings are still intact. We had a frosty night and now the sun is out in a blazing blue sky, everything that is touched by the light is thawing in the morning sun. Spring is here. The starlings have returned; I can hear them making their distinct noises outside. Sounds a bit like radio chatter. Also this year, they will build their nest above our front door somewhere between the rain gutter and the overlapping part of the roof and I will clean up the mess on the doorstep, as usual.

This seems like such a mundane concern, considering what is going on in Europe at the moment. To think that there is a war raging and people deprived of their homes only a short flight distance away – this is hard to grasp for me. It destroys some principles that I had taken for granted as if they were laws of nature. I was convinced that the people on this continent have learned from the past and understood that war is futile. I was convinced that we had left that stage behind. I talked to my grandpa the other day and he said that the invasion of Ukraine under a false pretence for him seemed like a “copy/paste” of what he witnessed back when World War II started with Germany attacking Poland. But why is this happening now? There has been much said and written about this and more will come, I am sure. Whether Putin wants to go down into history books as the glorious hero who stitched the Soviet Union back together, or whether he wants revenge for a perceived injustice or whether he wants to damage Europe as an idea and as an institution so badly that he considers the death of his own people as an acceptable toll. Maybe he is terminally ill and wants to leave the stage with a bang. No-one knows. And does the reason for all this even matter right now? This war makes me feel deeply sad, disappointed, and angry.

I once heard in one of my favourite podcasts that there is a scientific theory that says that every species that is intelligent enough will sooner or later eradicate itself. Could this be true? The one thing I do know for sure is that the world continues to turn, whether there are plants, dinosaurs or humans or nothing at all on its surface. We are a tiny little particle in the universe. THIS is a certainty. THIS is a law of nature. On some days, I find this sad, on others reassuring.

On the windowsill in my bedroom, facing south, little saplings are growing: tomatoes, herbs, salad, courgettes, cucumber, kohlrabi. They shall be planted into the veg patch in a couple of weeks’ time when they are strong enough and the weather is mild enough.

Every morning for the past 14 days, I have been watering these little pots. Now, more and more green is appearing.

And maybe by that time, the war will already be over. Maybe.

We’re going on a hike today; somewhere by the water, by the Baltic Sea. It is encouraging to see so much support and solidarity with Ukraine in the media, on the streets. People offering their guest rooms to refugees, donating what they can spare – this is also happening right now. I will find my way of being part of this movement, too.

I am struggling with this spring – I have never learned how to deal with war.

Sending you love, wherever this find you.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks, Sonja, for these words which mirror my feelings, exactly. The world out there is beautiful at the moment, the sun is shining, flowers are in blossom and yet – there’s a war raging not far away and people are dying and I’m feeling confused, helpless, sad. Time to breathe, take stock of options available and act. And plant some seeds, tend to the garden, if only to remind myself that humanity is more than greed, aggression and violence. Thanks again, Sonja.


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