Archive | November 2008

The Color Blue

Ulla Hennig

Hyacinth - Photo: Ulla Hennig

The hyacinth is a flower which we associate with spring. And we are in the beginning of winter – so it’s a bit out of place, you will think. But

  • did you know that hyacinths are associated with rebirth? We are 31 days away from 2009, from a New Year, and the time before the New Year is often used for thinking about old year and the coming one, thinking about our goals for 2008 and 2009.
  • that blue has been elected the “color of the Year 2008” by Pantone?
  • that blue is believed to keep the bad spirits away? Some people believe that the nights in November are full of bad spirits, so blue is a wonderful color at that time of the year.

Which color is your favorite one? Let’s talk!

Old and New – A Story from Berlin

Ulla Hennig

Weinhaus Huth. Photo: Ulla Hennig

The old house watched the building activities. All over the years, since the end of the World War II, it had been alone.

It still remembered the good old times, when its cellars were full of exquisite wine bottles, and its rooms filled with the noise of people running around, being busy. People in fine clothes, with servants who carried the bottles away. It was not alone then, there were many houses like it, and at night they used to whisper and to tell each other stories about the people who were living in them.

Then the big War came, and the bombs came down. One after the other, its fellow houses were shattered into pieces. Oh, what a thundering and terrible noise that was! The old house stretched and stood tall.

It was still standing when the war came to an end. It was the only one left over. At first, it missed its fellow houses, but then it got used to being alone. It watched. It watched the Berlin Wall cutting through the big place in 1961. It was a home for people in need, and although they were not like the people in its early years it was proud to be still useful.

And then it witnessed the fall of the Berlin wall. Now people were crossing the big place, people with helmets on, and people with business suits. And lots and lots of building cranes came. The old house looked at them suspiciously. They were building something new, shiny, glassy, architecture of the 20th century. Surely, those new houses would be arrogant, wrinkle their noses about the old building.

It was the night after the new houses were finished. “Hey you, over there!” The old house that was not used to be addressed in that way, didn’t answer. “Madam Old House”. Obviously they didn’t give up. “Yes,” the old House answered (it didn’t want to be impolite). “Well, we have to spend quite some time together, so why don’t we have a nice chat?” The old house looked at the new glassy and shining fellows. They might be glassy and shining, but they seemed to be nice and social. And the old house, for the first time after many, many years, enjoyed the company of fellow houses again.

This is a contribution to Joanna Young’s Group Writing Project The Results of My Writing Experiment.

Winter in Berlin

Ulla Hennig

Winter in Berlin. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Yesterday, winter came to Berlin with a strong wind and snow showers.

This is the street where I live, Wilhelmstra├če. All the houses here have been built in the years 1960 and later. Before World War II, this was a street with a lot of government buildings. After Word War II this street was a street in ruins, and it took up to the 60ies till new houses were built.

The cell phone that wasn’t turned off

Cell Phone, originally uploaded by JonJon2k8.

They look cute and pretty, don’t they? But sometimes you could just snatch them from your neighbor and throw them out of the window.
I went to a public reading a few days ago. The room was packed, and a quite famous actor sat down, opened his book and began to read. Everybody was listening, you could not hear anything (even the guy two rows in front of me, who had been coughing for two minutes before the artist entered the stage, had stopped his irritating noise). And then suddenly, lalelalela. Somebody had not turned off his cellular phone, and you could hear it all over the room. You could hear also someone fumbling in his jacket. Lalelalela. Again. The actor raised his head and looked at the person in question. “You don’t need to be ashamed, you know,” he said….I don’t know whether the person spoken to ever got the irony of this sentence…
This is part of a Group Writing Project organized by Brad Shorr.

Bavarian Abbey or the Art of Zen

Ulla Hennig

Photo: Ulla Hennig

This is a photo of the Bavarian Abbey Benediktbeuern. What do monks have to do with the Art of Zen?

Maybe you know the old rule for the monks: “Pray and Work” or “Ora et Labora” in Latin. They either worked or prayed. They had to work in order to make a living, but that’s only one side of the matter. Working for them was a way to serve God, to cherish God. Could be wiping the floor, washing the dishes, digging potatoes, begging for food and drink. Serving God, however, meant to put all the energy in the work being done at the moment, in doing it properly. No way of just wiping the floor quickly and “forgetting” the corners – already thinking of the meal which would be served at noon.

And here is where the Art of Zen comes in – focusing on the thing you are doing at the moment. Going for some shopping? Try to feel the brisk november air. Look at the houses with their bright shining windows. Feel the wind going through your hair. Try to concentrate on the moment- it will be over soon enough.

What you See is not Always what you Get

Ulla Hennig

Photo: Ulla Hennig

Looking at this building you may think it is a tower of some city hall or some part of a fortified building.

Actually it is a church tower. It doesn’t look like one, does it?

Well, how often do we deduce wrong things from the way things or persons look. One of my girl friends who always looked healthy had breast cancer (she had an operation, and now things look rather well).

At night, you see the lights shining in the city (especially at the time around Christmas) – what about the dark sides of the town?

Remember: What you see is not always what you get!

At the Beach

Ulla Hennig

Photo: Ulla Hennig

When there was a heavy load on my shoulders,

I went to the beach

where I listened to the sweet noise of the water

coming in, coming in.

And I turned my eyes on the waves

watching the endless silver surface

And I took a deep breath

of the salty air

and I felt good.

This is an experiment – my first poem in English, and my first poem at all. Please feel free to comment on it!