[At the bottom of this post, a video that will warm up your chilled body and brighten up your mind!]
Welcome to BFA’s final home game. Sunny, warm, cheery, soccer’y…
Welcome to mid-May in Germany, visibility nearly zero, temperatures hovering around 40 degrees (7 Celcius), when spectators wrapped in blankets wait for an hour for the first whistle to blow while staring into a thickening fog in which raindrops hang phlegmatic, nearly immobile in the frigid air above and below our umbrellas. Welcome to a spectator bench where blankets, mittens and scarves all press together in pursuit of illusive warmth. Welcome to a soccer game where the players are nearly-invisible mobile blobs on a field of shifting grey. Welcome to Ickiness with a capital I.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a sports-despising bookworm out to validate some point about soccer leading to mass-pneumonia and hair hell. I’m actually an avid spectator who usually gets there early with my two folding chairs (the extra one is for whichever student stops in to chat) and cheers and whoops and moans with the best of the rabid fans.
Danbi sat down next to me yesterday. He’s a Korean junior who proves that cheering Asians tend to sound like half-hearted mourners. Imagine a sad, tired voice intoning “Goooo BFA” into the pea-fog. Depressing, really. I tried to convince him to add an enthusiastic “Woo-hoo!” to his cheer, but then he just sounded schizophrenic. Meanwhile, the spectators on the hill across from us built a giant bonfire and clustered around it, wet sneakers and limp hair, trying to ward off a bronchitis epidemic.
Here’s what I thought as I drove back down the beautiful Marzell mountain and gazed at the cattle leisurely grazing along its slopes: oh, to be a bovine. I’m not referring to their passive lives, though there are days when I look longingly at little cow huddles chewing their cud under the shelter of shade trees. I’m not referring to their girth either, though it sure would be nice to exist in a civilization where jiggly-parts are prized. I’m referring to their apparent serenity. It’s raining? Oh, well. It’s hailing? Nice grass. It’s snowing? Off to the barn we go to stand around in manure.
Here’s how I think cows get it right: they don’t rant and rave and demand that things be different. That’s sadly an entirely human trait. If we don’t like it, we rebel against it…and we somehow expect that our raised fists and fiery eyes will make the world conform to our expectations. Yesterday, I was the idiot on top of Mount Marzell, instructing Danbi to blow really hard and see if the fog would rise. He actually blew, much to my surprise. Nothing happened. The girls down the row from us, who suffer from a severe case of MK-itis, kept referring to the fog as lightening up and “lightening down.” I started to explain to them that lightening down isn’t really the opposite of lightening up, but stopped in mid-sentence. It was keeping them happy to observe the thickening and thinning ballet of opaque condensation, and that made them more like cows than I will ever be.
I’m heading into a year when very little will probably go as expected—and so are the seniors graduating from BFA in less than a month. And as I sit by the radiator trying to ignore the cold seeping through my defective living room windows, I’m realizing that I could probably take a lesson or two from the cows mooing across the valley. Oh, it’s not a new lesson, by any means. Back in my dual-cancer days, my mantra was “It is what it is.” If you can’t change it and can’t avoid it, don’t waste your precious energy wishing it were different. Just accept it for what it is and endeavor to live through it. I’m claiming that mantra again as I face a foggy future. I have a car and I have a purpose. Housing? Not yet. But it is what it is—and God is who He is. So there’s nothing to worry about, is there.
A few more pictures…and then something GUARANTEED to make you feel happier and warmer, particularly if you live in frostbitten Europe. Skip to the bottom to view it.
During spring break, my mom and I drove to a small island off the coast of France called “Ile de Batz.” In the wintertime, it’s a desolate place swept by icy winds and entombed in gray. That’s why I chose it as the location for my first novel, “The Edge of Tidal Pools.” Well, it’s a much different place in the spring, and I’ve put together a short movie to prove that point. If EVER you need to get away to a place where cars aren’t allowed and horizons are endless, this is the place to go. My friend keeps a Bed & Breakfast on the island, and her contact info is at the end of the movie. The music, by the way, is by one of my favorite singers, Isabelle Boulay. If you speak French, you’ll love the lyrics! Just click on the arrow below to view the show…