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May, 2006 - Nr. 5


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A Bitter Heritage

Letter from the Editor

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister  

Dear Reader

The month of May is special for many a reason. For myself it is a month of romance. I got married in May and this year I celebrate a 40th anniversary.

Memories arise at every turn, wherever I go. The scent of a tree in bloom can send me back to a special moment in time. Tulips that glow yellow and red in the sun as though they are on fire make me recall a moment when I for the very first time became aware of this simply structured, yet majestic flower. It was also the moment when I wanted to paint for the first time.

Of course, here in Canada the memory kicks in this month of May, even though the occurrence took place much earlier in the year in Germany, where Tulips from Holland could be had in abundance already in February. In our region this domestic goddess bloomed no later than March, and here we are lucky, as we are this year, that the weather permitted them to show up in glorious techno colour in mid April. Eduard Moerike, the German poet and storyteller says this of spring:

„Es ist doch im April fürwahr,

der Frühling weder halb noch gar!

Komm Rosenbringer, süßer Mai,

komm herbei!

So weiß ich, daß es Frühling sei."

He speaks of April as neither here nor there, and asks for May to come as the bringer of roses, so he knows that spring is here indeed.

Well, in Canada we of course do not think of roses as bringers of spring. The first ones show in June and July, in time to herald summer. They introduce an entirely different pallet to the picture. While green and yellow, mixed with white and touches of pink prevail in spring on bushes and trees, with carpets of little blue bells and hyacinths underneath in a fresh breeze roses add a multitude of red shades and scent the air heavily.

Spring is the season of beginnings, of nature to start anew, of establishing abundance, to be nourished through the summer, to be harvested in fall, to sustain us during winter.

Smokey hard at work

I like new beginnings, fresh colours not yet faded from too much sun, the gradual arrival of yet another shade of green on a later sprouting tree.

I like waking up to the sound of wind, while returned birds sound off excitedly, as early as 4:30 in the morning, when the first glow of sun is nothing more then a hopeful thought.

I like watching children skip along the street in short sleeves, going to school, daring the early morning chill still lingering; mothers running after them with a sweater, giving up their persuasive efforts slightly frustrated.

I remember being just the same way as a child, defying the weather, mother and anyone else who would tell me that I had to keep warm. What a glorious sensation it was to run and feel the air on the face and neck on bare legs. And what a glorious sensation it is now to step out onto the porch or the garden and feel the crisp air in the sunshine, see the dew on the grass, discover what else will come out of the ground this day to gladden us.

I remember Mother’s Day and walks with my father to find and pick flowers to bring to her on this special day, making breakfast and serving it to her in bed, if she liked.

And I remember this incredible feeling of excitement that came from nowhere and permeated my entire beingness, making me restless and curious.

I still feel that way every spring. I want to change the world, at least my world. I want to give it a new colour, more excitement. I want to change conditions in my life. I make plans and plant gardens. I move furniture and want to redecorate the house, change the paintings on the walls, get a new outfit, and buy pretty new shoes. I want to change my hair colour and get a different cut. I want to visit people I have not seen for a while. I want to drive out into the country and see ducklings and young geese, go to a place I have not been before.

Surely you are familiar with these feelings, know some of them intimately. If you have a mother then you will do something special for her, and if she is no longer around then you will think of those days when you could be together. You can recall the flowers you presented, the cake you baked, the dinner you invited her to. You will remember the kindness and consideration she showed you, the hard work she did to keep you well, the advice she gave and the love she showered you with.

I will this Mother’s Day do just that and plant in the garden some of her favourite flowers so I can remember her all summer long all over again!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Until next time

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister


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