Yesterday, on New Year’s Eve, I sat at my desk in the small kitchen nook and watched a video clip of a man who looked familiar to me, besides his walking gear looked like mine: Black Nike top and pants, a dark-grey woolen cap, dark-blue sports gloves, and metallic blue Nordic Walking sticks. ‘Wow!’ I exclaimed, ‘incredible, he looks like me, even walking up my favourite trail to the Kahlenberg from the village of Weidling. But how come?’
Instead of further querying who that person was looking like myself, I resorted to the pleasure of studying his Style of Nordic Walking. Flowing, following through strides in a healthy rhythm. It seemed he was humming a song and I thought I heard some chords of ‘Blues in Orbit’. He also liked Classical Duke Ellington, more and more humming solo parts of piano, trumpet, and saxophone.
I’ve heard of this phenomenon of a double, or a shadow-man, from Rilke, Heine, and Rimbaud, perhaps of many others, like George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis, and Iannis Ritsos.
And today I’ve set out for a trail I’ve never been before. One, synonymous with my own life, the wanderings along a path which offers new vistas at every turn, and surprises one when least expected. The path of miracles inundated with tee-junctions luring one into adventures, with a heightened pulse and confusing with strangest noises. At times, if you are not afraid following your instinct, you hit upon a serene scenery of magnificent mountains that face you like outstretched fingers of a gigantic hand, with icy peaks as fingertips that are reflected in crystal clear waters of a still and flat lake, as if in a mirror. A high definition photograph. Time passes and you’ve enjoyed the rest, the delicious picnic and the acquaintance of a beautiful girlfriend you hardly remember.
Year after year you continue on this trail of your life, projecting your own growing up, the experiences of good and bad, the joyful and the sad, the dynamics of fast flying and of slow motion. And every year has an end with maddening crowds and cracking noises. Is it that one wishes to scare the old year away, and celebrate with colourful magical flowers, painted on the midnight’s sky, the birth of the New Year’s baby that has finally arrived?
You recall the times you’ve spent as a visitor to the Holy Land’s Bethlehem. You’ve treasured the sacred places to the three major religions, which had been at loggerheads for endless generations, and two of them still fighting today their hateful battles. Armed guards marching up in military-style shouting slogans, shooting into the peaceful air that became impregnated with the acrid smell of gun smoke. What idiotic happening, you think, here at the birthplace of a prophet and a teacher of peace. Many hurry away, scared and disturbed by a potential threat and the irrational chain-rustling by the stooges of warlords.
This firsthand experience is behind me now. I recall some of the disturbing happenings I had encountered during my wanderings n part of this earth. It seems that those memories that now lie far beyond, have been taken over by my shadow, and as shadows do not talk, but are often present, follow me, and follow us in our thoughts.
This time I have to cure myself of a persistent cough. I heat water, and after its boiling, I add some drops of eucalyptus oil inhaling the steam laced with the volatile oil. It eventually clears up my stuffy nose and facilitates my breathing. Yet, some of the tougher bugs still remain in the depth of my lungs, as if they had dug into a trench, like soldiers at war extending the fight of health against illness, white against black, good guys against the bad ones. It’ll never change, and like they I’ll fight to the end of wintry days and months until the warming sun will return and its rays will defeat the cold, and light will defeat darkness. A salutation to the good and the light. I’m already looking forward to a new spring.
It’s time to finish work in progress and then consolidate a list of projects that need immediate attention: A drawing with a theme about trees in a twilight setting, rendered in a contemporary way, and a small mixed media painting as a present for a friend’s birthday. I have noticed that I have been at an end of the year’s stupor, musing about the past and being lost in its winding labyrinth, forgetting about the tasks that need to be finished in time. One cannot speak here of signs of burnout, as all work I do in my literary world and the one in my creative art, are done due to the inner rhythm of the artist and depend on inspiration to be finally successful.
Artistic work supposed to be executed in complete freedom and in a balanced spirit that is governed by the sensual input of the artist’s innerness, guided by his heart. This is the New Year’s wish I exclaim, not only for myself but to all friends and foes, the disadvantaged and the mean, the newfound collocutors and all the poets, the individual Bohemians, and the performing artists, the models, and the actors, the street artists and the amateurs. May creativity in the arts over crust senseless fighting and killing. Art is Love.