Sunday, June 19, 2011
We spent the final evening not as tourists but as audience within the Berliner Dom. The thirty members of the Berliner Domkantorei gathered, to begin, at the back of this cathedral, lifting their voices up, then moved progressively and finally en masse toward the altar. The Berliner Domblaser, a brass ensemble, answered their song. The organ responded. It was eight in the evening, and we were far from that crowd, beneath that magnificent dome, unbothered by the worldly silences or professional frustrations we did manage to leave entirely at home.
Nothing bothered me here. All was new, an invitation. I leave Berlin with a fuller understanding of a devastating regime, a great respect for a city's ability and willingness to rebuild, a broader alignment with architecture both restorative and radical, and a love for the gentle grunge and craftsmanship of a proliferated artist community.
The skies, by the way, are exactly as Chloe Aridjis describes in her evocative and powerful slender novel, The Book of Clouds, which led me, like the great historian and writer Paul Steege led me, like my friend Tamra led me, to this city.
It had been a long time since I traveled like this. I am different than I was, and different than I will no doubt now be.
Thanks for journeying with me.