Some time has passed since my little field trip with a rental car into the Brandenburgian outback. I read back my post on the fieldstone churches I came across that day, and it puts a lingering smile on my face. Too often do I forget how healing the effect is that travel, however limited the time, how ever close the distance, has on me.
I drove through Lindow, a proper little town with a cute tiny market square. It looks a lot like Lübbenau in the Spreewald region South of Berlin. I guess it is the Prussian history. The town is settled snugly along the first lake I encountered that day, the Gudelacksee. I sat by the lakeshore in restaurant that seemed rather too big for such a small place, and had coffee, listening to the sounds of tiny waves and shivering yet a little bit in the shade. Across the small bay all of a sudden someone started playing the trumpet. I broke into smile. It was a bit off-key, but it was played with vigour and enjoyment, and it made me happy.
Out of the town, I drove along the wide Brandenburgian alleys enjoying the interplay of rape fields and green grass – and the occasional bit of shiny blue water when there was another lake. There are many in this area.
The day was sunny and bright. It was a day that felt on the verge of spring to summer. I felt the warm breeze in my face as I drove with the windows open, wonderfully aimlessly, not a care in the world, no duty, no pressure, just the moment and me. I came across Rheinsberg with its gorgeous Prussian castle which I will write about in another post. I had to park the car well outside of the town centre because it was very well frequented. The beauty in that was that I got to walk all along the promenade of lake, Grienickesee, back to the castle.
The reed stood high, the sun was dancing on the water, and the shady walkway along the water was not too busy. Too little girls were selling earthworms in jars. I was actually close to buying one just to see them smile. But they were smiling anyway and I really don’t have much use for earthworms in my life. The walk of about one and a half miles to the castle was every bit as pretty as the castle itself. But as I said, that is for another day.
My next stop was a random village called Wustrow – just outside of Brandenburg in the very South of Mecklenburg. I wouldn’t have stopped if it wasn’t for a small unobtrisive sign just by the freeway that led through the village. It said „Badestelle“ – a place for swimming. So I parked the car and followed the sign. I figured it would probably be one of the loneliest places I could come across because it was well outside of almost any civilization. The lake, Plätlinsee, was gorgeous. The forests looked black in the distance, and there was freshly mown grass to spread my blanket on. I tested the water with my feet, but it was quite too cold to actually go in all the way. So I settled for lying in the sun for a long time. Happy. Writing music in my head.
Since I had come this far, I decided to go the distance and drive the last bit to the Müritz, Germany’s second biggest lake after Lake Constance and the biggest one entirely on German territory. Where I ended up as the sun came down though was a different lake even further on than Müritz which is called Plauer See. I went to the village of Zislow, a place I had actually been before, went down to the lake shore, and witnessed what I can only describe as amazingness.
The sky had gone overcast, and the surface of the water was dim with the rippling of tiny waves. It was as though the water was shivering in anticipation of rainfall. Single sunbeams came through the clouds and drew patterns on the water in the distance. In German, some people call single, visible rays of sun that look so mainfest that you can touch them „Engelsfahrstühle“ – elevators for angels. I felt like I would have to see winged creatures ride up and down the streams of white light and dive into the water like children on a slide.
As I sat and watched, the clouds parted, and the sun came out again. The dance of light it performed on the water is plainly indescribable. After a day filled with peace with my thoughts flowing freely, a day with nothing to crave and no one to miss, this was indeed the perfect dusk, the perfect transition into night, into whatever would come next. You cannot seek out these moments. They are given to you. It was a moment of pure grace.