Friday, November 28, 2008

Bad Boll 30.7.1998: Healing Springs and Living Wine

Evening of a rainy day spent in the Swabian Alb. I’m sitting at the open window looking out at the ridge line behind the academy at Bad Boll A moment ago still, unwilling mist was rising from a point in the trees, very appealing to the eye, suggesting the Ur-roots of German culture (I’m overusing that Ur word in this journal, aren’t I?). Now it’s almost, but not quite, obliterated by heavy rain. I imagine some presence there, rising from the mist.

On the windowsill a glass of Württemberger Riesling. I like to see how it catched the light that’s still strong despite the rain. Wine does look alive under such circumstances, as the oenophiles maintain. This wine—Stetterner Wartbühl—is not bad, perhaps just the way to celebrate such an ordinary, extraordinary, evening.

I’m enjoying the time alone after too much intense time with too many people. The rain, the guttering sound of it on all sides, the evening light, the now clearing skies, the wine: all make me content to be here, just here, at this window now.

Opening the bible, I turn to Luke 8, where Jesus casts out demons and heals the woman with the flow of blood. Lately, I keep coming to passages about healing. Why? I don’t feel much healed. To the contrary, I feel roiled with deep emotions, among with self-loathing and envy predominate, at academic conferences. It’s so easy for the macho-hetero sexist big boys, and they’re so oblivious to the torments they inflict, as they babble on about overcoming sexism and fostering inclusivity.

Is everything in this spot contrived to bring healing, this ancient Kurort? Do some places have a kind of “natural” healing virtue? A psychotherapist at the conference tells me there are ancient holy wells and springs under all the great cathedrals . . . .

+ + + + +

Moving to full night now. I’ve been lying in bed reading David Leavitt’s While England Sleeps and watching the falling, rain-ridden and haunted light ring fascinating changes on the stucco walls of the two buildings to be glimpsed through the window.

One has cream-colored walls, the other yellow, though the point of it all is that, in this brief space of time, they’ve become so many different colors it’s hard to tell what either “really” is. A luminous yellow and gold, under the brown and red tile roofs they have; then a pink and a faded dusky tawny color. And now a rather ominous bleached white next to a nondescript brown, the windows of the buildings sullen sore eyes without sight, gazing vacantly into the distance.

With such light, such buildings, no wonder Central Europeans can so easily conjure up vampires.

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