The leafless trees look over the park, serenity reigns. Not quite free of ice, the Havel flows, almost with an excuse: it may be February, but winter is far from over. In the distance, through the mist, one can guess at the Glienicker Brücke, the bridge of spies. Many years have passed since then, since the hideous wall was removed, new trees planted, the park reopened, and the old church finally restored to its simple splendour.
The Schloss is still closed, its windows blind; a few steps away stands the millennium oak, witness to the folly of man. The old, tortured trunk still proud, even if half of it lays on the ground, finally resting. The path leads to the edge of Scarow, and further to the west, deep in the forest that surrounds the lake. There, in Summer, the young, and not so young, bathe and flirt in the nude, in the cleanest water around, under the shade of the trees. Now the woods are almost silent, if it were not for the woodpecker’s tireless effort. Half melted snow still lies on the ground, covered in patches with the small, pale bulbs of snowdrops.
The lake is frozen, the calm waters undisturbed by visitors. Nature is still asleep, and Spring a long way off.
Photo: Oak tree in Sacrower Schloß Park, © 2017 Honoré Dupuis
We walk along the high brick wall, the road side covered with snowdrops and daffodils, soon to see the old castle, perched on the hill, surrounded by meadows, ochre stones on blue sky.
Few trees are yet in bloom: this is the time of year when Spring is lurking, not yet triumphant, but already more than a promise.
Soon, we take the narrow lane, bordered with hedges full of busy birds, I am following you, my eyes taking in the beauty of the morning and your supple steps, your curves and the sloping hills in one exalted breath.
Among the crocuses and the primroses we sense hints of more wealth to explore, perhaps a little later, the air is still cold…
In the middle of this landscape I am thinking of all the other places in the world, unhappy, and ravaged by cruelty and greed: what made us so fortunate?
The freezing fog lifted an hour ago, as the skies got all at once brighter, surrounding the snow with sharp reflections. The garden is again in colour, emerging from the black and white dyes of the last few days. Small birds have reappeared, magpies perch melancholically on tree tops and high flying gulls cross over the landscape, aiming for the coast.
The roads are clear and the pavements a mess of half frozen slush: walkers sport mountain boots and gripping shoes of various types, one cannot help judging the contempt “we” – the pedestrians – are held by municipalities struggling in the claws of austerity. Small trees get greener as the snow melts away but the grass is still hidden, and with it the snow drops that, one guesses, are awake under the white blanket.
It is too early to celebrate victory over darkness: the evenings are clearer, and would be so later even, without the idiotic change of clock that, light-wise, ruins this short interval to the middle of February. So the bike is still in the garage but spirits are already higher: with Spring approaching, inspiration, we know, will be back with a vengeance.