This morning, the first texts I receive from my girlfriends, both say “It’s sunny out!” It’s a celebration! I am glad they let me know, because my apartment in the back half of the hinter Haus on the ground floor, is always dark, and I never know if it is raining or sunny, or even if there would be snow. I finish my writing more quickly, I write less, I want to be out in the fresh air and this blessed sunshine we have seen so precious little of this past few weeks.
As I walk through the park, the sunlight on my face, I think about summer. I think about the humidity and heat of Costa Rica, and the fresh warm air in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but this is not that sunshine. The air is cold, fresh, and crisp. The sun is a warm yellow globe high in the sky, but it’s not the tropical sunshine I have been following around the world for the past three years. It’s the fall sunshine of my new northern homeland, and the same fall sunshine from where I grew up. Apple cider in the fall sunshine, bright orange leaves falling from the trees sunshine, a deceiving warmth because as soon as a cloud obscures the bright light, the cold breaks in again and chills you deep inside.
I decide to walk to the coffee shop today. We won’t have many more sunny beautiful days like today, so I want to take advantage of the light and warmth. As I walk through the park, a kinder with about 12 three and four year olds goes running by. Their little faces so alive with the excitement of running through the fall leaves and reaching the playground where they will exert all of their little energies up on fun and pure joy.
The smell of the bushes is one of my favorite things about this park. As you walk through, the crips evergreen scent of the trees, combines with the wet damp smell of the fallen leaves already rotting on the edge of the paths. It is a distinctly fall scent, and I have missed it since I’ve been living in perpetual summer.
As I reach the main street, Shönhauser Allee, the street fills with people. These streets that were so recently shrouded in the darkness of cloudy, foggy, rainy days, are filled with people, enjoying the sunlight. An old man, leans against a wall, closes his eyes, and tips his head back to feel the sunlight warm his weary face. There are kids everywhere. I don’t know if it’s only the sunshine that has brought them out, or if there is a holiday, there are so many of them, dodging the adults as they race forward in their joyful play.
I feel that joy. I love this place. Even on a day I am just going about my normal business, writing all morning, now heading to the coffee shop to work long into the evening, I love this city. I posted my first image of being back in Berlin today on my Instagram and I said that since I was here last August, a piece of my heart remained here until I got back. That is so true. My heart is whole and reconciled again in Berlin.
I love the confidence I have from making a conscious choice about where I live. My job didn’t send me here, my birth didn’t place me here, I decided to be here. And I think that shows. I made a decision like this once before when I moved from upstate NY to Minneapolis. That choice changed my life in so many incredible and interesting ways. I expect this to do the same, and more. More so becauseI left NY because my life had become unbearable the way it was, and Minneapolis offered me a new kind of hope, a change for the better, a reconciling of what I knew I could be and what I currently was.
But Berlin? I moved here already free from the wondering, already fully present in me. I know who I am, and Berlin is the place I am becoming even more me. More the woman I always knew I was, and even more interestingly- the woman I never expected I would be. She is pretty cool and I love unpacking pieces of her and trying them on to see how they fit.
Berlin and I met each other on a warm summer night in August and it’s been a beautiful love affair ever since. This love, I feel it today even more. It’s in the sunlight, in the beautiful smiles of the children racing by, in the bullet proof coffee at my favorite cafe, in the new girl friend who is joining me later to write together, in the date I have tomorrow with a tall dark very handsome young man, in the man I am in love with but can’t have, at least not in terms that work for us both. This love is in the leaves falling from the trees, the bright yellow train flying by high above the street, casting a dappled shadow on the people below, as I walk down the street. Free. Me.
Ha- all this because I wanted to write about the sun! <3