On Loss: The Condition of Germany

On Loss: The Condition of Germany

Toward the end of last summer we went to a Danish island, as we have done for years now, looking to put some space between us and our “troublesome fatherland,” yet mindful of how quickly and completely such small distance, a mere hop, skip, and jump, can be canceled out, especially in August, the traditional month for crises. The previous year it had been the failed putsch in the disintegrating Soviet Union that dominated our vacation and glued us to the radio. Two years earlier the island setting had been canceled out by the Persian Gulf crisis qua media event; we simply could not tune it out. And this year it was Germany that caught up with us.

Actually the island of Mon has plenty of homegrown excitement. From morning till night a sweeping meadow, rimmed by Baltic dunes, enjoys incessant air traffic. Wild geese by the thousands make a stopover there, practicing take-offs and landings. Now and then a heron startles the gaggles of geese out of their languid rest. Constant racket, which eventually swallows itself up. And above the meadow, above the dunes, the skies are always filled with flight patterns, a writing which, when decoded, gives rise to legends

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Lima