May has been my favorite month ever since I can remember. That transition phase between spring and summer is so full of hope and opportunity, so bursting with expectation and dreaming. Nature is exploding in all her most beautiful colors and the sky has that special color that is both coyly pastel and stunningly intense and deep.
The train ride between Berlin and Gdańsk never ceases to be of indescribable beauty to me. Between Berlin and Frankfurt / Oder, the first hour of the ride, I can’t help but notice how different the landscape looks now from the way it did when I made the journey in the winter. The wide and rolling fields of Brandenburg are now not barren, brown and lifeless. They are juicy green and promising. And as I look out the window, suddenly I my heart starts leaping. Green has been substituted by garish and bright yellow.
It is the first rape field in blossom that I see this season. I could just cry. They say that up here, you can see with the naked eye if someone will be coming for a visit in three days. Everything is spread out into the open. Everything is just there. In this world and in this life that holds so many surprises for us on an everyday basis, I think it more than calming to find myself in this Northern Germany plain that doesn’t keep anything from me. Barren brown and grey fields in winter. Explosions of green grass, golden wheat and yellow rape in summer. This is home to me, a place where I can feel secure and at peace, unafraid of the surprises that may lurk around the corner.
At my most recent stay in Poland, after our visit to Grudziądz, Karol decides to not go back on the Autostrada – the large highway – but on the quiet country road by ways of the countless cute little villages on the way to Gdańsk. After the humid, hot day with stunning blue skies, small clouds has started to emerge, and now they are thickening across the wide dome above us. Nothing hinders the eye from wandering along the horizon on either side – no hills, no house, no tree distorts my view, and the sky looks different on every end in millions of shades of white, grey and blue as it meets the earth with its astonishingly juicy green fields. The rape is blossoming a little more carefully here than it was in Brandenburg – the fields are not of the same unbroken golden yellow colour, but they are intertwined with green. The rape is not entirely ripe yet, still waiting to give out its explosive force entirely.
On another day, Aga and I take the tram from the Gdańsk city center out to Brzeźno and walk from there to the park in Jelitkowo. It is too windy to walk right by the Baltic Sea beach, so we take the tarmaced trail behind the bank slope. Families with little children abound, young and old couples walking holding hands, friends chatting away, cyclists, skaters, buzzing life. The trees jutting out of the slope show leaves of such tender bright green that I feel any touch would have to destroy them. When we get to the park, we lie on the grass for an hour, sleeping, chatting and wreathing daisies.
Back in Berlin, the chestnut trees have exploded. In German the blossoms are called blossom candles, „Blütenkerzen“, as though they were something that shed light and was burning brightly into an already bright summer’s day. The pink ones have been my favorite trees since I was in high school. Their color is not subtle, it is crazed and screaming, exciting, fresh and fitting for visions of summer.
And speaking of blossoms, there are of course the cherry and apple trees that have their white beauty on display as though they were ready for their wedding. They never look as gorgeous as they do when in blossom, no matter the appeal of a tree carrying ripe fruit. I cannot help but think how the entire change of seasons and the idea of the passing of time is so iconically symbolized in the little white flowers on these trees. They remind me that every moment is precious, and they make the promise of a good tomorrow. I find hope in them.